A desperate fisherman and a naive kid embark on a dangerous journey trafficking drugs up the Pacific coast of Colombia. Hidden beneath the waves, they tow a narco torpedo filled with millions of dollars worth of cocaine. Together they must brave the war-torn region while navigating the growing tension between them.
In February of 2010, I set out on a journey to two major port cities on the southern Pacific coast of Colombia accompanied by an NYU colleague and a close friend native to the region. We were granted special access to Malaga Naval base, where we photographed and explored narco submarines and torpedoes confiscated by the Colombian Navy. What struck me most were the realities of those ensnared by this world. Over the next two years, I returned to the homes of these individuals and listened to their tales and deeply personal accounts of how their lives remain entrenched in the drug trade.
A region known for political unrest and organized crime, it's no secret that the drug trade continues to have a staggering effect over its people. We documented numerous accounts of daily confrontations with paramilitaries, guerrillas, and criminal drug traffickers. I asked a man from Tumaco if he could see an end to the turmoil in Colombia and he responded, “Yes…but only in my dreams.”
Manos Sucias is not another movie that glamorizes cocaine and the drug trade, rather it’s a film that unveils the realities of exploitation of the children, impoverished fishermen, and families who are forced to be a part of this world. My writing partner, Alan Blanco, and I wrote Manos Sucias to captivate viewers through action and suspense, while giving them a glimpse into the oft-neglected troubles that plague the people of this region. I arrived in Colombia with a passion for discovering the local stories; I left with an idea for a film that will speak to audiences across the globe.
Why We Need Your Help
To date, we have raised almost all of the money we need to complete Manos Sucias from a mixture of private investments, grants such as the Spike Lee Fellowship Award, and in-kind donations. The $55,000 we hope to raise through this campaign will green-light us to start shooting in April 2013.
We really cannot emphasize how important your contributions are. By backing Manos Sucias, you will literally be making the production of this film a reality; any and every amount is appreciated. If you can't contribute, please pass this along to someone who might. The more ways we get the word out about this film, the more likely it is that we will not only reach our goal of getting the movie made, but also begin the process of connecting with our audience and maximizing the number of viewers that our film can reach.
Who We Are
By now you've already seen my bio, but please meet the other key crew members of Manos Sucias:
Writer + Director of Photography - Alan Blanco
Alan Blanco is a jack of all trades. He left the world of production coordination to pursue an MFA in Film at NYU. At Tisch School of the Arts he was granted a Graduate Assistantship, shot many films including The Roe Effect, which screened on HBO and won awards at festivals around the world, and worked on set for director Spike Lee. Between jobs as a freelance cinematographer, editor and sound mixer, Alan has written several feature scripts, including the much buzzed about Kicks - an animated adventure about family, friendships and sneakers.
Producer - Elena Greenlee
Elena Greenlee was born and raised in Brooklyn, but her passion for filmmaking has been honed all over the world. Fluent in four languages and with a background in documentary, she is a narrative filmmaker in the service of telling socially relevant stories from diverse and unexplored angles. Her first film was shot in Havana, Cuba, and screened at festivals internationally as well as on broadcast TV in the Dominican Republic. While living in Rio de Janeiro, Greenlee worked with actors from the Academy Award nominated film City of God, developing a free film school to serve underprivileged youth from Rio's favelas. Elena has produced numerous short films that screened at top festivals across the country and holds an MFA in Film from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts where she was awarded the Spike Lee Fellowship Award and the Clive Davis Award. Manos Sucias is her first feature film.
Producer - Márcia Nunes
Márcia Nunes comes to Manos Sucias from the world of international sales, where she worked in closing distribution deals for various independent films. Márcia was also the Production Coordinator for Goldcrest Films on the Academy Award nominated documentary, Restrepo. Márcia holds a Master's degree in Film Business from New York University and has lived across South and North America. Fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, and French, Márcia hopes to produce feature films that bring different cultures together.
Co-Producer - Mirlanda Torres Zapata
Trained in Social Communications at the UPB-Medellín and in Production at the of the International School of Film and Television in San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba. Mirlanda's numerous feature film credits include: Dog Eat Dog (Sundance 2008) and Undertow (Sundance 2009 - Audience Award, World Dramatic Competition). In 2011 she founded her production company El Colectivo Grupo Creativo; and is currently developing two Colombian feature films, The Devil and Lindavista FC, and two International co-productions, The Grandfather with Peru and Manos Sucias with the U.S.
Associate Producer - Kelly Veronica Morales
Kelly Veronica Morales is an Industrial Designer and Visual Artist trained at the Universidad del Valle in Cali, Colombia. She has accompanied Manos Sucias from it's initial research phase and is responsible for making the first introduction between the production team and the communities of the Pacific Coast of Colombia. She is fluent in three languages and is creator of the design label "Mala Mulata" and proud owner of a Black Belt in the martial art Hapkido. After wrapping Manos Sucias she plans to pursue a career in Production Design for film, television & theater.
Casting Director - Manuel Viveros
Manuel Francisco Viveros is an Afro-Colombian actor. He graduated from the Department of Performing Arts at the Universidad del Valle, having participated in more than five international festivals. Manuel was a founding member of the Corporación Teatro del Valle, the supervisor of the "Young Artists of the Coast" initiative, and director of the Independent Theater Foundation of the Valle, of which he remains a member. In 2008 he premiered "An Enemy of the People" by Henrik Ibsen, and was awarded the Creation Prize Joint Fund for the Promotion of Culture and Tourism in the Valle. With the support of the Universidad del Valle, he produces four annual Intercollegiate Theater Festivals and serves as their general coordinator. Since August 2011 he has been the coordinator of the Bachelor's of Dramatic Arts program in the Pacific Coast Headquarters of the Universidad del Valle in Buenaventura, Colombia.
Risks and challenges
Making a film like MANOS SUCIAS is only possible--from its very conception to its successful release--by working hand in hand with the local community in Buenaventura.
Though we are working in a complex and troubled region, safety comes first. And though we are striving to create a compelling fiction film, authenticity is also important to our vision for bringing this story to the screen. Both safety and authenticity come from close collaboration with advisors, authorities, cast and crew who are local to the area.
As in any good collaboration, it is important that each party feels justly compensated for their contribution. While scouting locations in and around Buenaventura we got extremely encouraging feedback on our vision for the film from community leaders and residents alike. Alongside this feedback we were continually asked what we could contribute to the community in return.
We thought long and hard about how we could maximize our positive impact in the region, and decided that the most important thing to leave people with - after their salaries and fees - are the tools of representation. If we train local people to work on our production crew, they will gain skills to continue telling their own stories into the future.
Luckily, this idea has been met with tons of enthusiasm from local people and community leaders alike. Working with Manuel Viveros in the space generously provided by the local university where he teaches, we are able to prepare young people who are interested in working on the film both in front of and behind the cameras while holding a safe space to engage in dialogue with the local community about our film.
Cinematography by: Leonardo D'Antoni
Edited by: Josef Wladyka & Alan Blanco
- (30 days)