The stars came out for the world debut of An Unbreakable Bond, a film by Emilio Estefan which documents the relationship between NFL Hall of Famer Nick Buoniconti, his son Marc, and their nearly three decade struggle to find a cure for spinal cord injuries. The film recently made its world at the 31st edition of Miami Film Festival (MIFF), produced and presented by Miami Dade College (MDC), at the Olympia Theater at The Gusman Center for the Performing Arts.
Nick Buoniconti and Gloria and Emilio Estefan were joined by NBC News’ Tom Brokaw, who introduced the film, and NBC sportscaster Bob Costas, who moderated the question and answer session following the movie which was followed by the Estefans making a $100,000 donation to The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis, on behalf of the Gloria Estefan Foundation. The donation will help continue with the important clinical trials underway at The Miami Project at the University of Miami.
In addition to the Buoniconti and Estefan family members in attendance, other notables included Don Shula, Bob Griese, Ignacio “Nacho” Figueras, Nat Moore, Candela Ferro, Romero Britto, Lily Estefan and Dick Anderson, and several Miami VIPs, who enjoyed a decadent party, catered by Baron G., on the theater stage following the film and the Q & A. Estefan, a 19-time Grammy award winning producer, directed and produced the documentary which archives the Buonicontis’ lives as they faced paralysis head on.
From the beginning in 1985 when Marc was injured, the film follows their journey from the creation of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis through the present day as they stand at the forefront of paralysis research.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to share with the world this moving story about an incredibly unique bond between a father and his son," Emilio Estefan said. "Marc and Nick turned their tragedy into hope and inspiration for so many individuals and families who are impacted by paralysis each year.
Estefan said the story hit close to home for him after Gloria Estefan was injured in a bus accident.
"Thankfully, Gloria was blessed with a miraculous outcome and was able to walk again. The Miami Project gives great hope to so many people and their dedication towards finding a cure for paralysis is so close,” Emilio Estefan said.
Meanwhile, the Buonicontis expressed gratitude at having the Estefans as both friends and partners ont his project.
“We have been fortunate to call The Estefans friends for many years, so to work with them on An Unbreakable Bond was a dream come true. They bring such professionalism and class to everything they do and have helped us capture our story on film so we can take our message to the world that paralysis does not have to be forever,” said Miami Project Founder Nick Buoniconti.
An Unbreakable Bond is narrated by Gloria Estefan. The film includes appearances by special friends and ardent supporters of The Miami Project including; Academy Award winning actor Tommy Lee Jones, award winning television journalists Tom Brokaw and Bob Costas, NFL Hall of Fame Coach Don Shula, and Golf Hall of Famer Jack Nicklaus.
There are also first-hand accounts from the Buoniconti family of the devastation that Marc’s injury had on the family and how they teamed up with world-renown neurosurgeon Dr. Barth Green and developed the fledgling Miami Project at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine into a research effort with international prominence that has changed the way the world looks at paralysis and a cure.
“Over the decades, Gloria and Emilio Estefan have been such wonderful supporters and friends to both The Miami Project and The Buoniconti Fund. Both of our roots are so firmly planted in Miami, so when this project presented itself it was natural to work with them on this important film,” said Miami Project President Marc Buoniconti. "Through historic footage, interviews with key supportive individuals, doctors, family and friends, the film recreates the tribulations and triumphs of this remarkable story. It also documents for future generations a journey of greatness, tragedy, inspiration and hope. Ultimately, this is a story of An Unbreakable Bond between a father and a son. A father and son not accustomed to standing still who believe that all were born to move, and chose to do something about it."