Private Project


Fernando Casabas, a Colombo-American high school student with extraordinary curiosity about life is investigated by the FBI in Miami. The USA authorities unfairly accuse him of participating in a High School terrorist attack. Overwhelmed by the situation, he escapes to Mompox, a colonial island in the Magdalena River in Colombia, where time has stopped.
Fernando learns that for four generations the family’s livelihood has been a form of treasure hunting. At the cemetery when Fernando asks Marlina, his grandma, to teach him the family trade a spirit of the first Casabas in Colombia, Guillermo Casabas appears in a vision. He is a Spaniard conqueror who has come back to the island to challenge Fernando.
Every night Fernando sneaks out of his grandmother’s house, taking a boat down the river. He meets an old man and by following his instructions he opens valuable treasures. The old man commands Fernando to hide and protect the findings until they have enough to split.
The moment comes when they have to divide their purse. When Fernando goes to their hideout to pick up the treasures, Guillermo and his ancestors are claiming ownership over the goods. Fernando fights against the entities and he is stunned when, before his eyes, golden pre-colonial statutes, emeralds and pearls are sucked deep under the earth by an underground twister. He is in trouble!

  • Ika Santamaria
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    Screenplay, Short Script
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Writer Biography - Ika Santamaria

Ika Santamaria was born in Colombia and trained as an actor at the renowned Teatro Libre of Bogota. She moved to New York City where she studied screenwriting and cinema at New York University.
As Filmmaker/Director she has received awards given by the Women’s International Film Festival, LDUB Film Festival, Miami Life Awards; Ika recently won a competition at the Sundance Screenwriters Intensive, Miami 2015. She received the Achievement Award for Best Film Director at the Women in The Arts 2013 & was named the WITA 2013 Filmmaker of the Year as well. Awarded Best Actor at Miami Indie Film Club. Also Ika wrote, directed, and edited “Flea Market Finish Line” which was accepted at the Cannes Film Festival/Short Film Corner 2013 and won awards in many International Film Festivals.
From 2002 to 2008, Santamaria worked in the production and distribution of TV content and films for the South American market. For her, this was the groundbreaking work for understanding the logistics of the entertainment industry. During this time, she also managed to do theater where she worked as creative producer, playwright, director and actor. She traveled and performed internationally.
Ika Santamaria has gathered extensive experience in different stages of the TV and Film industry.
As a consummate actress, she builds an acting technique and is a true professional, bringing personality and an intuitive approach to her characters that influences the rest of the cast.
Ika writes, produces, directs, and edits her own material. She is also an acting coach and a creative guru, who is always lending her knowledge to the new actors/directors of South Florida.
Ika is presently, wearing many hats: writing, teaching, performing, directing and film editing.
. “The name by which the Arauacos Colombian Indians are best known in ethnological literature is Ika, a word that in their own language means “people".

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Writer Statement

Director’s statement.
Land, the environment where we came to earth is imbedded in our core no matter where we go. I was born and raised in Colombia and now I live in Miami. In me is this sensation of having part of my soul yearning to go back home.
A few years ago, my son and I were touring in my country. I decided to take a chance and honour my aunt Amparo by visiting her house, located in a very poor area. To get there, half of the trip was by car but the other half was by foot. Early in the morning, we walked through this town in awe. It was like entering into a wonderland; doors and windows open, the time of the day didn’t matter and while some kids were running to do errands others were flying precarious kites, women were cooking outside, teens were dancing and getting ready to go to school, music and news was playing on radios at the same time, the aroma of fried breakfast was everywhere, workers were heading to the main road, a guy complemented my son for having a beautiful mama... Suddenly my son said, “Everything is happening.” This sentence is the genesis of my film.
It was like my son’s genes needed to grow some roots in there, in fact that happened. My only son, who was born in Miami fell in love and connected with his Colombian origins.
I have witnessed the challenges that our new generation faces in this new century. The way we engage with each other, our learning process is very much dependent on a digital experience. We are struggling because some millennials don’t even know what we are lacking; it’s just clear that they wish they could learn more about who they are by exploring the universe in a tangible fashion.
Our main character will do so: Fernando is a young Latino-American teen who feels that he will be better-off starting fresh in the country that his father left behind. Why? Because at only sixteen he has been unfairly blamed by the school administration for a shooting that happened at his school. Fernando is being investigated by the FBI; he tries to prove that he has been unjustly accused by the school principal because of his rebellion to the system
Fernando escapes where he begins his rite of passage in Mompox Colombia, were time has stopped. (this colonial island has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.) This is where magic realism happens. My step mother is from Mompox. She told us fantastic stories about her uncle, Sr. Soto, who still lives in the family house. In their backyard a treasure was swallowed by the land, three times. No one dares to excavate his patio because Sr. Soto guards it with his life.
Using Mompox and Miami as our metaphor allows me to have a parallel to compare past and present at the same time, placing my protagonist in both realms to discover within his journey, where the balance point could be for our future generations.
We are going back!