Directors/co-writers Laura Amelia Guzman and Israel Cardenas had the cast and crew of their latest film, the Spanish-language drama Sand Dollars, live in primitive huts in an unpopulated section of the Dominican Republic for the seven weeks of filming. "We were out 20 miles away from East Jesus," laughs Sand Dollar star Geraldine Chaplin who was in Houston over the weekend to introduce a screening at Latin Wave, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's annual festival of Latin American cinema.
Courtesy of Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Yanet Mojica and Geraldine Chaplin in Sand Dollars
"We were out in the middle of nowhere with no flushing toilets and just a little bit of solar power. I didn't mind, but I did have one requirement - I needed a king-size bed. They had to build a hut around the bed because there wasn't one big enough for it."
Chaplin plays Anne, a much older, rich European woman living in a small town in the Dominican Republic. She's in love with Noeli, a 20-year-old local, played by newcomer Yanet Mojica. Noeli hustles rich vacationers of both genders, constantly asking for money and gifts in exchange for her sexual favors. She passes the cash on to her boyfriend who she tells Anne is her brother. Her real goal is a passport and a plane ticket, a way to get off of the island and escape its oppressive poverty.
This story continues on the next page.