Walo, a young man from a peaceful small town in the mountains of northern Nicaragua, sets off on a journey through Central America to earn money to move to Spain to live with his girlfriend. Along the way he encounters dangerous gangs, corrupt land owners, violent state repression, and mythical beings from Central American folklore come-to-life, all in his quest to earn a few hundred dollars.

  • Douglas Cushnie
    Volar en línea recta, Neemkomok'
  • Walder Casco López
    Volar en línea recta
  • Project Title (Original Language):
  • Project Type:
    Student, Screenplay
  • Genres:
    Drama, Latin American, Magic Realism, Adventure, Road Movie, Social
  • Number of Pages:
  • Country of Origin:
  • Language:
    English, Spanish
  • First-time Screenwriter:
  • Student Project:
Writer Biography - Douglas Cushnie, Walder Casco López

After getting his start at a young age in action sports photography and cinematography, Douglas Cushnie gradually transitioned into narrative and commercial film, eventually directing "Volar en línea recta," a short based on the lives of, and starring, close friends of his in Nicaragua. The success of this short led him to directing more projects in Latin America and the US. Ultimately, he was accepted to a directing fellowship at the American Film Institute, graduating in late 2017 with his thesis, “Neemkomok.”

He continues to be passionate about telling the stories of underrepresented people and places, especially in Nicaragua, where in early 2018 he began filming a feature-length docufiction film following teenage firefighters.

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Writer Statement

A few years back, while I was showing "Volar en línea recta" at a film festival in the US, my lead actor from the short, Walder, informed me that he'd be traveling to El Salvador for a couple of months in order to earn some money. He wished me the best of luck with the screenings and told me to inform him about how they went once he got back. His trip lasted about a month and a half, and upon his return he told me that he had an interesting story we could tell.

As it turns out, while his face was being projected on a 30 foot screen in Los Angeles, the real life Walo was traveling as a migrant worker through Central America, getting into trouble with corrupt landowners, gangs, and more, in an attempt to earn some money to move to Spain. He left with about $10 in his pocket and came home fruitless, with about $8 left.

Taking his story nearly verbatim, we decided to craft a dramatized version of it into a feature length script. The feature would send characters from a small town into the fiery cauldron of Central America; Nicaraguan Hobbits facing up against the orcs of a Salvadoran Mordor, and running into all the vibrant regional characters along the way: the brainwashed evangelists, the sinister drug lords, the destitute drunks and everyone else caught in the middle.

He'd finally make it back to Nicaragua, where, since April 2018, protests against the government have led to violent state-sponsored repression, leaving over 500 dead. It'd be hard to make a film about the country without commenting on those current events, and they propose an even greater challenge to the future of the character than his international travels ever could.

In the spirit of Latin American magic realism, we also wanted to weave in a lot of Nicaraguan folklore in order to provide a backdrop for the chaos the characters are facing. Those include such figures as Los Cadejos, two white/black wolf-like creatures who fight to the death over a person's soul; La Cegua: An evil spirit with the body of a woman and the face of a horse; and La Carretanagua: a carriage driven by chained, skeletal oxen that symbolizes death. These icons are woven into the film in a way that makes them inseparable from the reality that they've reflected over Nicaragua's vibrant past and present.