1st 12

Here are the 1st 12 scenes of a screenplay I was commissioned to write some years ago. It remains work I take pride in and enjoy reading. (Screenwriters NB: if you don't enjoy reading your scripts, it's likely no one else will, either. Problem is, if you do enjoy reading your scripts, that doesn't mean anyone else will enjoy reading them either. Solution: hire a pro script reader.)

BLACK

A man speaking in Spanish. Selling something.

FADE IN

UNDER FRONT CREDITS

A 1990 tourist video promoting Colombia. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAmrteM6ces) This is what the voice of the man speaking Spanish is selling. Colombia.

By the time this little masterpiece is done

FRONT CREDITS END so we

SMASH CUT TO

EXT. FAVELA, BOGOTA, COLOMBIA, 1990 - EARLY EVENING

SUPER: COLOMBIA, 1990

And now it hits us like a bomb:

A BLUR of favela life. On the ragged edge. Dirt poor houses that seem built on top of other houses. Graffiti. Hustle and double hustle. Flesh melting heat. Living chaos. This place seethes with energy. Despair. Courage. Fear. Joy. And now it’s early evening, with MUSIC. Music swamps us as we find --

Factory worker FEDERICO (57) walking through the madness. He’s done this a thousand times. His street demeanour is tempered by the vulnerability of an older man. A weary man.

But he’s taking this walk for the last time. It feels good.

Street kids barely even scan him with crime and drug dimmed, hunter’s eyes. He’s not worth rolling. Except that he is. He takes a SILVER-PLATED WATCH out of his dirty pocket warily.

Very proud indeed, Federico looks at it cupped in his work ingrained right hand. A strong hand capable of great love.

This WATCH makes him smile. This thing of vast humble beauty. An INSCRIPTION on the back wishes him a happy retirement.

He fastens the silver-plated WATCH to the wrist of his left arm. Covers it with his work dirty shirt. Wary. In his left hand: guitar strings. He is proud of these too, this musician.

Not far to go now. Almost home. Almost. He sees his home as

INT. FEDERICO HOUSE – SAME

ANGELINA (3) looks out of the dirty window eagerly so she can see her beloved daddy Federico come home. Like she always does. But today she’s looking at a disturbance outside. A bad thing happening. She’s too young even to feel fear. Yet.

And then she sees her daddy Federico outside. Coming home.

Surely daddy will be able to make the bad thing go away.

EXT. FEDERICO HOUSE - SAME

Federico glimpses his little angel Angelina looking out of the window as she always does to see him come home. He waves.

FEDERICO

(love beyond love)

Angelina!

But he sees she isn’t looking at him now. She’s looking at

A drug runner bunch of pre-teen, STREET MAFIA BOYS outside his home. Mostly these are glassy eyed hunters, too. Street rats. Armed to the teeth. Assault rifles. Pistolos. Knives.

A Spanish guitar being SMASHED up. His guitar. A boy yelling.

Mafia boys jeering jackal cold indifference. Federico sees

His son JESUS (6) at the centre of the pack. He’s being pushed and shoved. He’s blooded already. Close to collapse.

This is what Angelina is looking at. The bad thing.

INT. FEDERICO HOUSE – SAME

Angelina sees her brother being attacked outside. The bad thing is REFLECTED in her huge, beautiful, innocent eyes.

ANGELINA

Jesus.

EXT. FEDERICO HOUSE - SAME

Federico surges forward. A father’s instinct. He says something but it gets lost in the chaos of the now.

But the way Jesus holds Federico’s eyes says ‘help’.

STROBE CUTS/OVERLAPPING

Federico says something to the Mafia boy gang Leader. The Leader sneers him away. Brandishes his semi. The heat builds.

Angelina watches from inside the house.

Leader says something without looking at Federico.

Mind racing, Federico grabs retirement money from his overall pocket. He hands it to Leader. Leader counts the notes by feel, indifferent to everything except survival. To power.

This seems to have worked because Leader says something. With hungry indifference, his minions shove Jesus in Federico’s direction, already searching for their next trick.

Angelina watches from inside the house.

Federico reaches instinctively for Jesus as he reaches him.

Federico thereby reveals his SILVER retirement WATCH.

Mafia boys’ eyes find the watch like landfill dogs.

Leader rounds on Federico as he and Jesus walk away. Something about the shitty pay off. Others react.

As if immediately, they surround Federico and Jesus again.

They want the WATCH. More money. They want the world.

Angelina watches from inside the house.

Federico makes a stand.

Jesus says something to him. A warning. Too late.

Somewhere among the heat and noise and amazing dirt

MUZZLES FLASH

Semis and pistolos. Mostly the Leader bragging it. And so

FEDERICO

- falls under a hail of BULLETS. Death spat by fire.

Suddenly his dead, twitching body on top of Jesus.

Protecting Jesus from the bullets that still punch him.

As Leader hoses the scene down with semi bullets these

BULLETS

- FIZZ past Jesus’ waking nightmare and RIP into

INT. FEDERICO HOUSE - SAME

THWACK. One of the bullets HITS Federico’s daughter and Jesus’ and Angelina’s sister SONIA (5) as she sleeps.

KITCHEN

Angelina’s mother LUCIA (late 30s) REACTS as

NEXT ROOM

Angelina hears a bad thing next door. Runs into the

NEXT ROOM

Angelina enters. A doe eyed angel. She sees her sister Sonia awaken to her shredded leg flesh and volcanic BLOOD as

EXT. FEDERICO HOUSE - SAME

Jesus is aware of a dream of sounds and shouts and footsteps and the crushing weight of his father who died saving him.

He is aware that bullets have shredded his home.

He is aware of the mafia boys leaving the scene suddenly.

He is aware of a man approaching, whom they obviously FEAR.

This man is tall. A certain power. His name is RICO (20s).

Jesus’ world descends into a VORTEX of SHOCK.

Jesus twists so he can glimpse his violated home.

He thinks he sees Angelina return to the window. A vision.

JESUS

Angelina.

TIME CUT TO

EXT. FAVELA, BOGOTA, COLOMBIA, 1998 - NIGHT

Different ads and cars, but it’s basically the same amazing impossible hurricane of humanity on the dignified edge.

SUPER: 8 years later

Jesus (now 14) rounds a corner. His street presence is that of a boy forced into manhood by the beast of reality.

He sees his sister Angelina (now 10) being harassed by a kid called MATEO (13). Mateo wants a kiss. Not on Jesus’ watch.

JESUS

Angelina!

But instead of being glad he’s here to save her, Angelina flicks him a haughty look that says: I don’t need you. In several years she’ll be an achingly beautiful young woman. Now, pre-sexual, she’s dressed sexual. And proud. And tough.

Other kids hang. Egg Mateo on. Tribal. Street life.

Suddenly Jesus is there pushing Mateo away.

MATEO

The fuck are you?

Mateo returns Jesus’ shove. It’s already a fight.

ANGELINA

Leave him, bro. I got this!

Angelina rolls her gorgeous eyes. Kisses her tongue.

Jesus kicks the living shit out of Mateo. Kids gather. Love it. Just another maelstrom of shit in the favela jungle.

JESUS

You ever, (punch) ever,

(kick) ever, (etc) ever

touch my sister!

Pissed by her bro Jesus’ RAGE of protection for her, Angelina heads off into the maze of streets with Sonia and their gang.

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