Mexico’s Yalitza Aparicio, Oscar nominated for her career-launching turn in Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma,” and Infinity Hill, producers of the Oscar-nominated Argentine drama “Argentina 1985,” have boarded sweatshop thriller “Dreamer” (previously titled “Bonded”) as executive producers.
The drama features a stellar cast that includes Golden Globe nominee Diego Calva (“Babylon”), Chile’s Alfredo Castro (“From Afar”), Mexico’s Paulina Gaitán (“Narcos”) and Jason Patric (“The Lost Boys”).
The directorial feature debut of helmer-scribe Mohit Ramchandani, “Dreamer” is produced by Mexican filmmaker Luis Mandoki (“Innocent Voices), Jon Graham (“The Vault”) and Kyle Stroud (“In Full Bloom”).
Drama will have its world premiere at the Mammoth Film Festival where it closes the event on Sunday, March 5.
Inspired by the 1995 El Monte California sweatshop raid, “Dreamer” follows a young Mexican boy who aspires to become a soccer star. His dreams are upended when he’s smuggled across the border and sold to a sweatshop making fast fashion in downtown Los Angeles. At first, he blends in, keeping his head down and following the 18-hour workdays imposed by his captors. However, the disappearance of a young girl makes it clear to him that he needs to escape.
“Emotionally, it’s very impactful,” said Aparicio, adding: “The script is incredible. It’s a movie that keeps you present, always wondering what’s going to happen next. I’m proud to be part of such an important and thought-provoking film.”
“We were blown away by the filmmaking and moved quickly to hire Ramchandani on another project,” said Axel Kuschevatzky of Infinity Hill. “What makes ‘Dreamer’ unique is that it’s a social drama wrapped in a genre movie with gripping horror and action sequences that keeps you on the edge of your seat,” he added. “At the same time, as a Latino, it’s hard not to think about how many more cases like ‘Dreamer’ are out there, and what we’re going to do about it,” he mused.
The project went through a rocky journey of its own. It was previously set up at Irish Dreamtime, the shingle owned by Pierce Brosnan and the late Beau St. Claire, before it landed at Santa Monica-based Aliwen Entertainment and Anhelo Prods. of the late Mexican producer-businessman Jorge Vergara, who backed Alfonso Cuaron’s “Y Tu Mama Tambien.”
“40 million people are enslaved in the world today,” Ramchandani pointed out. “My own father worked in a sweatshop in the ‘50s, and learning about the El Monte case inspired me to make a film that simply shows you the underbelly of this world through the eyes of a young boy, and shed light on the fact that this isn’t just happening in developing nations, it’s happening right here, right now, in the richest country in the world.”
Aparicio stars in Apple TV+ series “Midnight Family” alongside Renata Vaca who costars in “Dreamer.” In 2019, she was named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World and was named the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Indigenous Peoples.
With offices in the U.K., Los Angeles and Buenos Aires, Infinity Hill is an international film and TV series production company founded in 2019 by Kuschevatzky, Phin Glynn and Cindy Teperman, in association with Mexico’s Pedro Davila from Digital TV Group. Among its multiple credits, the company is behind the hit BBC series “Staged,” starring David Tennant and Michael Sheen.