The Wetback

by A.P. Gonzalez

CA

Several years ago, I picked up a small novel with an unusual title, The Road To Tamazunchale.  The back of the book has a quote from the Texas Review:  “Ron Arias [the author] has absorbed influences from writers as apparently dissimilar as Cervantes, Kafka, Faulkner and Garcia Marquez.”  “Impressive group of writers,” I thought.  “Better give it a try.”

IT BLEW ME AWAY -- not so much because of its literary influences but because it was written by a Mexican-American from Los Angeles, like me.  The protagonist in the story could have been my own grandfather, quirky, wise, resilient and full-of-life. I had read novels, plays and poetry by Mexican-American writers; but these works were usually rooted in sociological and/or political intent.  Instead, this novel sings of humanity, beauty, universality and art.  

My project, “The Wetback,” is a short film based on a powerful story-line that runs through Ron Arias’ novel. In “The Wetback,” Danny (10) and his friends find a body while playing near the L.A. River.  An older woman, the neighborhood’s eccentric, eventually claims the body.  Danny’s grandfather and mother must take the body back and give it a proper burial, believing that the authorities don’t really care about another illegal immigrant, another wetback.  In the process, a generation-long secret is revealed in this “magical realist” tale.  

All funding for “The Wetback” will go to the production and post-production of this film. The film has been cast with remarkable Latino talent, and the locations have been locked down.  Our crew begins shooting April 8th, and editing will begin immediately after production.  The cost of a short with 11 speaking parts and Los Angles locations is expensive; however, the crew has agreed to work far below their usual scale in order to get this film made.  Editing picture and sound, music composition, final color-grading and entering the film in international film festivals is all part of a larger plan to get investors and industry executives interested in the feature, which is based on the same material.   

“The Wetback” reflects accurately on the lives of immigrant and working class Latinos in the U.S.  It’s not a story about misery and poverty and other stereotypical notions of American Latinos; it’s about respect, compassion, humor and the magic in our culture. There is no better time than now to tell a truthful story about the largest ethnic minority in our country – a population of over 55 million people who are rarely portrayed in U.S. films.  

In order to complete The Wetback, we are setting our funding/target goal at 15,000.  The 15,000 will be spent paying for the portion of the production, which is not fully funded, and all of the post-production.  

FUNDING GOAL:

Production: 

Crew: $4000

Lighting and equipment: $2200

Meals: $1800

Locations and Permits: $1200

Post Production:

Editing (pic and sound): $2500

Color Grading: $600

Music Composition: $1200

Final Sound Mix: $1500

Grand Total: $15000

A portion of the film’s budget has been raised allowing us to get this far, and we are seeking your help to raise the remainder of the budget so we can shoot and edit the film, finishing by fall 2017.  In the end, I want viewers to see the real people I grew up with – like other Americans, fueled by love and often torn between responsibilities. Thank you for supporting independent artists and indie films.  

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