“Elian,” a documentary about the custody battle over the Cuban boy whose mother drowned at sea and how his Miami relatives fought to raise him in Little Havana, will be broadcast 10 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 24, on CNN.
CNN Films co-produced the documentary, which looks back on the events that began Thanksgiving Day 1999 when 5-year-old Elian Gonzalez was found floating in an inner tube by two men about 3 miles off Fort Lauderdale. His mother, Elizabeth Brotons, drowned during their escape from Cuba, and the boy went to stay with his great-uncle Lazaro Gonzalez and other relatives in their Little Havana bungalow. Federal agents seized the boy from the house in the early morning hours of April 22, 2000, to reunite him with his father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez, who traveled from Cuba to pick him up.
The documentary premiered last spring at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York and screened in May at the Tower Theater in Little Havana as part of the Miami Film Festival.
Filmmakers interviewed Elian Gonzalez who is 23 years old and living in Cuba, where he is a member of the Young Communists Union. In the film, he recounted being found that Thanksgiving Day. His father was also interviewed for the film.
Other interviews include his Miami cousin Marisleysis Gonzalez, who was 21 when she became a surrogate mother to the boy during the international custody dispute.
Her family’s Little Havana house became the epicenter of a media frenzy.
The documentary will also repeat at 2 a.m. Friday on CNN.