Baja News Wire Latest News from Baja California, Mexico

Old 09-29-09, 06:04 AM   #1
BajaGringo's Avatar
Status: Queso Grande
Join Date: 02-09-09
Location: San Quintin
Posts: 7,148

BajaGringo is on a distinguished road

Default Tijuana Gets Breakthrough Role in Sci-Fi Flick

Tijuana gets breakthrough role in sci-fi 'Sleep Dealer'

By Lilia O'Hara
Unuin Tribune / Enlace Staff Writer

2:00 a.m. September 25, 2009

Tijuana is legendary as a crossing point, but until now it's never been the setting for a science-fiction movie.

Alex Rivera has changed that.

The filmmaker uses Tijuana as the backdrop for the movie he directed, “Sleep Dealer,” recently released on DVD in Spanish with English subtitles.

In the movie, set in the future, Tijuana is still a launching point to find work in the United States, but it's no longer necessary to cross the border physically.

Instead, people pay “coyotechs” to attach nodes to their arms and back. Through these “plugs,” the workers are connected to robots who do the physical labor in fields and construction sites on the other side of the border.

Over time, the workers' energy and eyesight begin to deteriorate.

Rivera, 36, the son of a Peruvian immigrant, says he's been a big fan of science fiction and technology since he was a kid.

In the 1990s he read an article about technological advances that predicted a world where everyone could work from home.

He began to imagine how workers would be able to do that.

“And that's how I got this idea of a fantasy/nightmare where immigrants could work in the United States without leaving their country. Their labor is here, but their body and person remain outside,” says the director from his New York home.

Rivera sees this as a metaphor for today's politics.

“There are millions and millions of immigrants, but they're rejected and invisible.”

The director said he chose Tijuana because it's so vastly different from its neighbor across the border.

“When you cross, you feel you're in a very different place.”

Actor Jacob Vargas, who portrays an American worker who also remotely controls a robot, says what attracted him to this film was the idea of making a futuristic movie in Mexico.

“They're almost always on a spaceship or a distant planet. I liked that it was set in Tijuana.”

The film also features performances by Mexican actor Luis Fernando Peña, and Leonor Varela, from Chile.

Although part of the story takes place in Oaxaca, where the main character lives before a tragedy propels him north, Tijuana is the setting for most of the film, which the director characterizes as a mix of “Blade Runner” and “Mad Max.” Many streets and avenues will be familiar to viewers who know this region.

Tijuana native Carlos Valencia even has a role in the movie.

Valencia, who lives in Mexico City and is working on three stage productions there, said the subject matter and the setting of Tijuana are the film's strengths.

“This city plays a strategic role as the birthplace of the dreams” of people passing through it, the actor said.

Riviera became familiar with Tijuana while filming documentaries for public television. So when it came to filming “Sleep Dealer,” he already knew where to find the images he wanted, and even used footage he had shot previously.

His main satisfaction with the film is that this is the first time a Latin American city is the setting for a science-fiction movie.

“We haven't seen visions of the future in the south; I'm very proud of being the first to try it,” Riviera said. “ ‘Sleep Dealer’ is neorealist science fiction, a fiction that tries to say something about our reality.”


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Wall Street's Role in Narco-Trafficking Noticias Baja News Wire 0 06-01-11 05:55 PM
Baja plays big role in tomato deal Noticias Baja News Wire 12 06-01-11 09:33 AM
DNA breakthrough heralds new medical era – and opens ethical Pandora's box domack Baja News Wire 3 05-16-11 04:34 PM
Brad Pitt is banned from entering China because of his role in... OMGFacts Funny Facts 0 12-23-09 04:14 AM