Roadside Attractions has acquired all U.S. rights to Dreamer, a riveting thriller inspired by the landmark El Monte, CA sweatshop case, about a Mexican boy whose dreams of becoming a soccer star are shattered when he’s smuggled across the border and sold to a sweatshop in downtown Los Angeles. The feature directorial debut from writer/producer Mohit Ramchandani, Dreamer uses the power of cinema to spotlight the growing crisis of enslaved child labor in the U.S. Dreamer will open nationwide only in theaters on April 5, 2024.
Dreamer stars Alfredo Castro (Karnawal, The Club, Tony Manero), Paulina Gaitan (Narcos, Sin Nombre, El Presidente), Golden Globe-nominee Diego Calva (Babylon, Narcos: Mexico), Renata Vaca (Saw X), and newcomer Ari Lopez in a breakout lead performance.
The story follows Jesús (Lopez), a young farmer in rural Mexico who dreams of playing for Club Puebla, his local soccer team. With the promise of training at a soccer camp in Los Angeles, Jesús is convinced by his father to leave home, but he soon discovers that he’s been sold to a sweatshop run out of a decrepit mansion in downtown Los Angeles. Jesús is subjected to the grueling eighteen-hour work schedule dictated by El Jefe (Castro), a boss who promises freedom for those who complete their quotas, and whose brutality is motivated by his own desperation to provide for his family back in Mexico. Despite all, Jesús finds solace in Elena (Vaca), a girl who was similarly betrayed and sent to America under the guise of attending a fashion school. When Elena goes missing and another co-worker Carlitos (Calva) is severely beaten for confronting El Jefe, Jesús realizes his only way out is a daring escape.
Dreamer has no political bias or agenda. It merely shows you, from the point of view of a young boy, what it would be like to have your dreams stolen and replaced with the hellish nightmare of slavery,” said director Mohit ’Mo’ Ramchandani. ”His story is only one of over 2.8 million undocumented migrants that crossed the border in 2023 and whose forced labor is an unforgiveable stain on countless corporate products.”