Spanish filmmakers Carlos Bosch and Josep Maria Domènech earned an Academy Award nomination in the Best Documentary Feature category for co-directing the 2002 Spanish documentary Balseros, about Cubans leaving during the Período Especial. As a consequence of the widespread poverty that came with the end of economic support from the former USSR, 37,191 Cubans left Cuba in 1994, unimpeded by the Cuban government, using anything they could find or build to get to Florida. Most left with improvised rafts, which weren’t often seaworthy, and some even hijacked a ferry. The documentary consists largely of interviews with the rafters over the course of seven years and focuses on the lives of seven of those refugees, from the building of their rafts to their attempts at building new lives in America, giving insight into daily life in Cuba and the USA in those days.
Best Documentary Feature, Balseros, 76th Academy Awards, Nominated