Rodolfo Dominguez, Karen Martinez and Brandon Lopez are having a Cannes-tastic weekend…
The 16-year-old Mexican actor, 17-year-old Guatemalan actress and 17-year-old Guatemalan actor were awarded the “Un Certain Regard” acting prize on Saturday at the Cannes Film Festival.
Dominguez, Martinez and Lopez earned the award for their stellar lead work in Spanish-Mexican filmmaker Diego Quemada-Diez’s La jaula de oro.
The film, the debut effort by Quemada-Diez, tells the story of three Guatemalan teenagers who attempt to make the dangerous overland journey through Mexico in a bid to enter the United States.
Quemada-Diez gave thanks to the actors for representing “youth who need more support to realize their dreams.”
He said he wanted to show illegal immigrants in a different light, noting that too often they are viewed as criminals and little attention is paid to the reasons behind their decisions.
Martinez, the only one of the three with prior acting experience, dedicated the award to “all those people who asked us to tell their story,” that of immigrants who try to emigrate to the United States illegally.
Dominguez, the youngest and most timid of the three, said he would seek out more opportunities in the film business.
But if that does not work out, “I’ll stay here in my village (Chalchihuitan, in the state of Chiapas) working with my father and my brothers,” in the field, with the bees.
La jaula de oro competed in this famed film festival’s Un Certain Regard section, which is typically a space for “original and different” films by lesser known or first-time directors.