Luis Mandoki to Direct Border-Set Crime Thriller 'Tesoro' (Exclusive)

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Luis Mandoki

Writer-producer Sandy Baumann has received backlash from some Trump supporters, but she says the movie is not political.

Veteran director Luis Mandoki is set to helm Tesoro (Treasure), the story of a Mexican immigrant who puts her life on the line to save her ailing father back home.

Set to shoot this summer, Tesoro centers on a Mexican waitress who risks everything to cross the Mexico-U.S. border so that she can earn money to pay for a life-saving operation for her father, but her return journey is thwarted by a deadly crime family.

Producer and writer Sandy Baumann, who participated in the Sundance Screenwriters Lab, penned the script based on her own father's near-death experience. Her shingle DreamCity Productions is in talks with Hollywood production partners.

Baumann has caught flak from some Donald Trump supporters who suggest she's making the immigration-themed movie as a vehicle to bash the president, but she wrote the script in 2010, long before Trump entered the political arena.

"It's not a political film, it's a touching, against-all-odds story centered in a dangerous border town," said Baumann. "I'm not going to let any backlash stop me from making this film that was inspired by my own true dad's life-saving operation."

Mexico City-born Mandoki has directed such Hollywood films as When a Man Loves a Woman (1994), featuring Meg Ryan and Andy Garcia, and the 2002 crime drama Trapped, starring Charlize Theron. The filmmaker also has previous experience with a border-set story when he directed the 2012 immigrant melodrama The Precocious & Brief Life of Sabina Rivas.

The English-language picture's cast will be announced next week.

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