When her mother and younger brother are murdered, Esperanza, a rebellious Mexican teen, risks her life to find her father in Los Angeles.  Upon crossing the border in the back of a big rig truck, she finds herself burdened by Angel, a little boy whose father dies along the way.  When Angel is caught by immigration authorities, Esperanza has to decide whether or not she should risk deportation to save him.

  • Bret Polish
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Drama, Family, Latino, Immigrant
  • Number of Pages:
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Language:
    English, Spanish
  • First-time Screenwriter:
  • Student Project:
Writer Biography - Bret Polish

Bret Polish is a Los Angeles-based high school teacher and filmmaker with a desire to make the world a better place. Since 2005 he has been teaching English, Social Studies, and Film Production in schools across Los Angeles. In 2012, he decided to pursue his lifelong dream to become a filmmaker and enrolled at Loyola Marymount University's film school. In May he earned his Master's in Film Production and completed his thesis film, So Far From God, an adaptation of a scene from his feature film script, Esperanza. Esperanza is based on his experiences with undocumented students, family members, and friends. In making this film, Bret seeks to raise awareness of the plight of undocumented Latino/a children so that Americans can develop a more humane immigration system.

Add Writer Biography
Writer Statement

In my U.S. History classes, I teach my students that the United States is a nation of immigrants. Though I was born here, I know this reality second-hand. My grandmother was born in Germany, my mother and her brother were born in Israel, and my wife and her siblings were born in Mexico. Many of my students have also emigrated from other countries. Esperanza is my attempt to shed light on the struggles of some of our nation's newest immigrants: Latina/os who are coming to this country in search of a better life.

Inspired by Dying to Cross, news-anchor Jorge Ramos' true chronicle of the "worst immigrant tragedy in American history," I have written an original work that imagines what it would be like to be a teenage girl who, desperate to make it to the U.S., agrees to become human cargo on a journey that could very well kill her.

It is my hope that this story overcomes the politics of immigration and puts human faces to an issue that for too many Americans has become a convenient scapegoat for everything else that ails our society.