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I ACTED IN A FILM OF ‘DRUG TRAFFICKERS’

Los six gunmen arrived at noon to the neighborhood, got out of their cars and took up positions in the middle of the street. Armed with guns and assault rifles, they were ready to kill or die.

While the leader, a young man with a woven scarf wrapped around his neck, stood a step ahead, an escort covering his left, two hitmen on one side and two on his back.

Suddenly the bullets. From the weapons comes fire and behind the thugs are observed on walls and poles sparks where they bounce the bullets of their attackers. A sicario who takes care of the back falls fulminated and two seconds later the other falls. Someone shouts, “They got naked!” And the survivors stop shooting.

“They were two and nothing left. They peeled. With a fuck .. Now what am I going to tell the engineer? – laments the leader of the group now reduced to four.

-Cut! The director of the film shouted, and the dead rise up, wiping the dirt off their backs.

It is one more day of the recording of the film “Operativo de Guerra”, produced by the actor Richie Cruz under the direction of Luis Alvarez, both well known in the low budget tapes that are usually cataloged as “narcocine border” but have High demand in Mexico and the United States.

Richie Cruz, who already has five films created under the name of “Richie Productions”, who knows my taste for seventh art and narrative journalism, invited me to cover the beginning of the recordings, which would take place for a month in Scenarios of Tijuana and Playas de Rosarito.

“Come and see what this roll is like,” he said. And I accepted. I put as a condition to let me be everywhere without limitations, ask, take videos, photograph and interview actors, as long as it does not affect the recording.

Photo: Manuel Villegas.

With that understanding started the recordings and days later, his assistant, Linda Channel, informed me that they required my presence. “You have a call, bring at least two changes of clothes in case you offer,” he said. The recording was in offices in Rosarito and Cruz had included me in a small role in the tape, although initially we agreed that it could appear in some scene and extra.

I’m not an actor but they made it easy because my role in “Operativo …” would be a cameraman: a television journalist who plays Cheli Landa, who does know how to act. (Not in vain has more than two decades of experience in film and television in Mexico and the United States).

I met that day many artists of films of “narcos” like Angel Soto and Fabián López, besides that I had in luck to work along with the Mexican actor Fernando Sáenz a cold midnight in the separates of the command of Rosarito.

And that’s where they took us “detained” for being witnesses of a confrontation between alleged narco-traffickers. Sáenz was the commander in the recording and was in charge of taking the statements of the journalistic metiches. I was shocked and shoved but they did not force me to speak, and thanks to an actor-lawyer who came out of who knows where, Cheli Landa and his server managed to get released hours later.

In the meantime, while the production team waited for the offices to be opened to start recording, we witnessed a change of royal cops’ turn, while the fictional cops reviewed their lines.

“It is always so. We do not know how long we will work in a location, sometimes we spend all night in rehearsals and recordings, “says Sáenz, while he was wearing his glasses to read the lines that would interpret the picture.

Between jokes and albures the wait became less tense, and in the talk with the actor that since childhood I have seen in soap operas and movies with the brothers Almada, Lucía Méndez and others, told me that appearances deceive and that he is very sensitive weigh To appear almost always with weapons on screen.

“Chillar is a man … and rude, even this little actor,” he said, remembering once that he was moved to tears when in a town in the center of the country a family invited him to know his house, where they had adorned all A bedroom with posters and photographs of him, the admiration they had for him.

“These things are not forgotten, except the affection that people can have; That, brother, can be a shudder, “says Sáenz, calmly returning his wet eyes to his libretto.

Otherwise with Richie Cruz. He is a man who is not quiet. The responsibility of the film lies on him and he must make every dollar budgeted. So along with Linda they organize so that all the actors and the technical equipment become available once the directors summon it.

He also checks lights, asks for sound, checks distances, asks the metiches to withdraw, keeps an eye out for the actors to try their lines, and supervises that the food arrives at the scheduled time not to stop the recordings.

“I have many years in this, I began as an actor, as an extra, and now I decided to produce; You can not imagine how many people can benefit from this, even though many do not like drug-trafficking and armed command, “says the restless man.

The “narco cinema” is an industry in small although it does not seem. And although producing a videopelícula with good quality has its advantages, they are not always economic. The 25 thousand or 30 thousand dollars that in average are invested in this type of films is not always easy to recover them.

Richi Cruz says that winning to survive depends on how you deal with a distributor to get something out of the end product, as well as being a very competitive business and always have to face envy and “kick under the table” to stay in force.

Photo: Manuel Villegas.

“But we like this, and we put up with a lot of things for the sake of making movies,” says the producer.
So to participate, to be curious or to survive as extra in a recording of the productions that we described as “narcocine”, I made this list of ten recommendations. It serves also, to be the hero of the film.

One. Always offers availability. When director Luis Alvarez asked: “And where are the thugs?” For the scene with which we started this narrative, two were with their children or girlfriends in their cars and had to be carrerearlos.

Two. Carry books or crossword puzzles. I saw that Cheli Landa, like a professional, stayed almost five hours reading most of the time sitting on a stool, but always ready to take his call. The other extras did not find what to do and many despaired because they wanted to leave.

Three. Go willing to invest. If a person wants to appear in the credits of the film or participate in a scene as an extra, he can offer to invest, as it is an expensive business. Richie Cruz told me about a lot of people who believe that these films are financed by criminals because of the issues that are addressed. If that happens you could record dozens of movies a year and to make one or two, it is difficult and expensive.

Four. Take your girlfriend. There are cases of those who offer 500 and even a thousand dollars to give themselves the simple taste of going out with a gun or in a shooting, or to put a relative, a friend or the girlfriend, but they are few cases. The producer says that if they are included, the original story will not be changed.

Five. Make it as if you knew everyone, even if you never saw them in your life. That’s right, by participating in a narcocine recording. Behave as if everyone were your friends or acquaintances: that attitude will help in the interaction with actors and extras, speed up the work, get your dialogues, throw bullet and go home satisfied of your foray into cinema.

Six. Lose the love to your clothes. No. It is not nudity, but that at any moment you will be told that there is a shooting and that it may be that you are among the dead or wounded. Then you will be placed the so-called fuses, which are explosives controlled at a distance and that forces will mark a bullet in the clothes where the director points. Effects include blood stains on clothing.

Seven. Take care of your children. After the shootings the little ones stole the scene. Literally. They rushed to pick up the percussive cartridges of salvo and went through the picture even before the director shouted “cut.” Also if the actors or the curious take their children and do not take care of them, they can get excited and scream or laugh, affecting the recording.

Eight. Bring your own down. In the recordings, the people asked the autographs to the actors Sáenz and Soto, “The Chicano”, Landa and Fabián López – one of the most wanted by young ladies and children. And many times they have nothing to write on papers, books, clothes and even the skin of their fans. Whoever wore pen or down does not always share it.

Nine. Take your own photos. Do not let anyone take you acting photos or with the actors of the production if it is not with your camera. No one will mail it to you unless it is your close friend or relative. Otherwise you can not boast in your social networks.

Ten. Never expect a salary for your performance.

Photo: Manuel Villegas.

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