07/01/1998 AT 12:00 AM EDT
Latin melodies were the order last night at the premiere of the HBO movie "For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story," starring Andy Garcia as the celebrated Cuban trumpeter Arturo Sandoval and Mia Maestro as his wife Marianela. The film chronicles the couple's harrowing escape from Castro's oppressive regime that kept Sandoval from his true calling -- music -- and the premiere, held at the B.B. King restaurant in Times Square, brought out Garcia and the real Sandoval. "It is a cultural thing for me," the Cuban-born Garcia told PEOPLE. "It is not only an acting thing. It represents my culture and the tragedy of the Cuban situation." As for being played by Garcia, Sandoval admitted to PEOPLE: "Even though he is Cuban, very good-looking, very musical and everything, in front of everything he is a good actor." Marianela Sandoval also approves, said her husband. "My wife, she loved it," he said. "Two hundred and fifty times we have watched it already, and she weeps every time."