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Home Movies: Jackie Magdaleno

Film written, directed, produced in Brownsville

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Posted: Sunday, December 22, 2013 10:00 pm

BROWNSVILLE — A Brownsville woman produced a movie she co-wrote with her mother about faith and redemption — and the flick is gaining momentum.

The movie, “Fearless Fight,” was written by Marie J. Magdaleno and her mother, Adelaida. It’s about a man convicted of smuggling people into the country who, upon release from prison, is dejected and hopeless, struggling to understand and find a place in this world.

Marie directed the film.

The main character, Ricardo De La Cruz, who is played by Chris Ortiz, is a Brownsville man who gets into human smuggling to make money, but also to help families reconnect with loved ones from whom they’re separated by the Rio Grande and the law, Marie said.

“While he’s in prison, his father passes away and his mother is getting evicted. His brother is getting bullied. So he gets released, and when he gets released he is just so lost,” Marie said. “He has no faith, just nothing. He’s getting rejected for jobs, food stamps, everything. And his mom, she’s sick.”

Eventually, by chance, De La Cruz runs into Don Felipe, who is played by Robert Campos. Don Felipe is a down-and-out boxing coach with a serious drinking problem who coached De La Cruz as a child at the Brownsville Boys & Girls Club.

“They both help each other turn their lives around because Don Felipe is a coach and an alcoholic. This guy is getting rejected. So he is kind of like, ‘Look, I can help you get a job. I have a friend who works here,’” Marie said. “And he’s (De La Cruz) like maybe you (Don Felipe) should turn your life around. I’m turning my life around. Maybe we can do something for each other.”

And so the story goes.

Marie said the entire movie was shot and cast in Brownsville.

“We shot at a local park, at the Boys & Girls Club and it was the coolest experience when we shot at the Cameron County Jail,” she said. “I got everyone involved on this, and so we started to film different places all over the city.”

Marie said Brownsville residents showed tremendous support and cooperation while the crew put the movie together, and she said many of the themes within the movie, are themes with which residents of the Rio Grande Valley are familiar.

“I tried to focus locally because a lot of people struggle. My family runs a business and we have hired people with criminal backgrounds. And it’s tough for them,” she said. “And they’re judged left and right because of that one mistake. So this is a movie about faith and second chances.”

Marie said her family and friends took part in a private showing of the movie this weekend, but added that in January there will be a public viewing.

The movie is a little more than an hour long, and she is currently working with a friend in California to cut it down to 20 to 25 minutes so she can enter it in short film competitions.

Marie said the effort wouldn’t have been possible without the help of numerous Brownsville residents, friends and family.

“I am extremely thankful for my family and all my close friends. They supported me from the beginning,” she said. “The doors are opening.”


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