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It is a story of love and unity set in our current times.

Picture, if you will……

     A strong brown hand slams a strident alarm clock.  The sleepy man rises with a grunt of fatigue.  Next, workers quietly shuffle into the back entrance of a fancy resort hotel in the pre-dawn dark.  Many, many miles away, other hands turn off their alarm clocks as they rise in elegant surroundings.  They depart their homes in New York, London, Rome and L.A. in chauffeured limos or taxis to fly to a Southwestern resort in search of relaxation, respite and perhaps adventure….

           Just as the well-to-do tourists arrive at the Southwestern resort hotel, the Latino workers toil outside.  They prune flowers on the grounds, saddle horses in the stable or serve food on the open-air terrace.  Suddenly, a wild wind bursts from the west. Some magic love dust has accidentally been carried in the wind by an accident of fate!  The dust falls over the resort hotel and all of the wrong people fall in love.  Aurora Bellochio, an Italian contessa becomes enamored with the middle-aged master gardener, Francisco Goya.  The young stable master, Rafael Montenegro, becomes besotted with a 60-something British judge named Honoria Fellows.  Joshua Glanz, the L.A. heart surgeon with feet of clay seeks the spiritual guidance and loving attention of Reina, the middle-aged waitress and curandera.  Nina Abrams, a high powered, African-American congressional lobbyist becomes putty in the hands of the dashing Central-American chef Enrique. And Michael Kelley, a middle-aged partner in a Manhattan investment firm who has lost his love for life, falls for Minerva, the thirty-something hotel concierge who speaks five languages but is afraid to travel or take chances in life or love. Magic Love Dust begins with the premise of these oddly-matched couples coming together, and the story unfolds as some of the couples encounter conflict but endure in their love, while others do not.

The Origin of Magic Love Dust, The Movie

Magic Love Dust is based on the short story “Amor Encantado” by Patricia Preciado Martin, a distinguished Chicana writer from Tucson, Arizona.  When Laura Gutiérrez Spencer read the story that Mrs. Martin wrote with such vivid descriptions, she couldn’t help but visualize the story as the beginning of a movie. Laura took up the challenge to make it into a movie, contacted Mrs. Martin, and proceeded to negotiate the rights to the story with the University of Arizona Press.  Mrs. Preciado Martin became an enthusiastic supporter of the project.  Upon obtaining the rights, Laura wrote a draft of the script.  She was fortunate to have worked with the famous poet, novelist and screenwriter, Jimmy Santiago Baca, author of the screenplay for the Chicano classic Blood In, Blood Out, directed by Taylor Hackford. Mr. Baca made suggestions about the screenplay and encouraged Laura to continue with the project.  His next recommendation was to film a teaser or trailer to show potential investors that she could take the project from the planning stages to production. In order to film a teaser, Laura needed to find a team of experienced film professionals to help her take this project to the next stage. Laura eventually had coffee with a former colleague, Marcela Salmón, who had left the university to pursue an acting career in film.   Both Laura and Marcela had experience in the university setting on the U.S.-Mexico border working with bilingual and bicultural students.  After working with individuals who see Latinos only through the lens of deficit, both Marcela and Laura share the commitment to portray Latinos through a lens that is wider than a world of drugs, crime and poverty.  They share an aesthetic that includes a beautiful and elegant view of Latino culture.   Marcela then brought the support of her partner Aron Hethcox, a talented filmmaker who has done considerable work in directing, sound and editing.  His passion for Magic Love Dust is palpable in his direction of the teaser, which further benefited from the addition of Lilia Rosa Salmon as Production Designer, and Matt Wilson as cinematographer.

The Sunshine Grocery

The teaser was filmed in the historic Las Cruces Mesquite neighborhood.  Laura Gutiérrez Spencer had long imagined the Sunshine Grocery as the ideal location for the store where the magic love dust is sold.  Laura´s family members have owned the property for approximately 100 years.  When the MLD (Magic Love Dust) team was preparing to film the teaser, Laura went in search of her cousin Bestina Sánchez.  Miss Sánchez by then was 89 and in a wheelchair.  Her nephew, Harry Sánchez lived in the building.  Once Laura and her collaborators asked permission to use the store as a location for the shoot and explained the story, Mr. Sánchez was extraordinarily supportive.  The entire cast and crew owe a great debt of gratitude to Harry, Bestina,and the rest of the familia for their generous hospitality and support.

Why an Independent Film?

An underlying, but important component of Magic Love Dust is the positive portrayal of Latinos and Latino workers. In a subtle manner, this film will portray the dignity of workers who toil daily in jobs that many others reject.  This film will show Latinos in day-to – day situations that are not limited to ” life on the border.” Hollwood has observed that Latinos spend more of their budget on entertainment than any other racial or ethnic group,and are the fastest growing demographic in the United States.  The networks Univisión and Telemundo, founded in part by U.S. Latinos, have been hugely successful.  The producers of MLD are committed to the creation of a film that celebrates the New Mexican community and setting with the highest quality of story and production. Without studio support, the only way to produce this film is with the support of investors, investors like….you!

Film in New Mexico

The producers of the film are either New Mexico natives or long- term residents.  New Mexico boasts beautiful and dramatic landscapes, historic architecture and colorful backdrops.  There is a thriving film industry in this state as well as a wealth of musicians, artists, actors and writers.  The producers have many contacts in the community that have proven invaluable in the production of the teaser. New Mexico also has a generous film rebate program.

The Team

Laura Gutiérrez-Spencer

Screenwriter/ Executive Producer
Laura Gutiérrez-Spencer grew up in a bilingual, bi-cultural family in New Mexico. A former professor of Chicano/a and Latin American Literature, she is a published literary critic who focused on the work of Chicana and Latin American writers. For the past twenty years she has served as a university administrator, in support of the needs of Hispanic students. Years ago, Laura read a short story entitled “Enchanted Love, Amor Encantado” by Chicana author, Patricia Preciado Martin. The story´s vivid imagery never left her mind of unlikely lovers who meet in an elegant Southwester resort hotel. From the first reading, Laura could saw the story as a movie. Gutiérrez-Spencer optioned the rights and wrote a screenplay based on the story . Magic Love Dust is her first screenplay and film project. Laura lives in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

David L. Dirks

Production Counsel
David L. Dirks serves as production counsel on features and documentaries. He received his J.D. from NYU. He practiced entertainment law in New York City before working in talent management in Los Angeles. He lives in Santa Fe, where he enjoys advising clients in film, art and business. He is a member to the New York and New Mexico Bar Associations.