Omeleto

La Carnada

By Josh Soskin | Drama
A Mexican boy embarks on his first drug smuggle across the 'Devil's Highway'.

Manny is a young 13-year-old boy with a sick mother. Faced with limited prospects, the smart, pragmatic kid decides to help her by sneaking drugs into the U.S.

But his first smuggle across the “Devil’s Highway,” a fatal stretch of the Arizona/Mexico border, is not just an introduction to danger, but a rough coming-of-age.

Writer-director Josh Soskin’s taut drama is a short that examines the bonds of family, the effects of poverty in the age of globalization and the dangers that emerge when the two intersect. Through precise, fluid direction and a telling eye for detail, the film manages to pack rich storytelling within its economical approach, whether it’s the wide shot that shows the sex worker plying her trade in the margins of the frame or the simple way Manny’s shoulders drop when he realizes he and his sick mother have no money.

Visually the film is remarkable, capturing the textures and light of the Mexican desert and border town, full of sunfaded colors and the heaps of worn buildings nestled in the hillsides, as well as the lived-in home of Manny and his mother, cluttered with the stockpile of those who hold onto what little they have, no matter what. The images and setting are authentic — the film was shot in east Tijuana, as well as in the Sonoran desert — but captured in a subtle, matter-of-fact way.

Much of the film’s power is carried on the weight of its young lead performer, Angel Soto, Jr., who plays Manny with a melancholy and world-weariness, showing what it looks like when children carry a burden of responsibility at much too young of an age. Even as a very young teen, Manny is intelligent, mature and conscientious, which makes it understandable why he would be driven to make such a perilous decision.

But he is also still a young child, and ultimately in over his head. As the web of drug traffickers and border police weaves itself around him, he finds himself lost — and the ultimate pawn in the winds of much more complex geopolitical realities much larger than himself.

“La Carnada” ends in a twist that is brutal in its calculation, and reveals that no matter how smart, its individual foot soldiers are, there are larger, murkier, ever mutable forces at work that no one player — or perhaps even policy or law — can outsmart. But what’s brilliant about this powerful film is that it never lets us forget the “small-scale” human cost, often made out of ordinary everyday desperation, loyalty and love.





You Might Also Like:

Bless Me Father

By Paul M. Horan | Drama
A priest has a moral dilemma when a man confesses a secret that affects his life.

The Goodnight Show

By Charlie Schwan | Drama
A virgin tries to get laid before an unstoppable asteroid ends the world.

Naysayer ft. Steven Yeun

By David M. Helman | Drama
A young father who is cut off from his son takes matters into his own hands.

Mordechai

By Benjamin Bee | Drama
An ultra-Orthodox Jew reunites with his twin brother for their father's funeral.

Retouch

By Kaveh Mazaheri | Drama
An Iranian woman's husband has an accident at home... and she just watches him die.

Stealing Silver ft. Maisie Williams

By Mark Lobatto | Drama
A woman uncovers the truth about the man living across from her.

Joseph’s Reel

By Michael Lavers | Romance
An elderly man is given the opportunity to relive one day of his life.

Cradle

By Devon Manney | Animation
A veteran soldier who loses both arms battles phantom pains and memories of a pre-war life.

Hold On

By Charlotte Scott-Wilson | Drama
A young cellist develops stage fright after a string comes lose during a big performance.

Don’t Be a Hero

By Pete Lee | Drama
A woman battles her loneliness by robbing banks as a cowboy on her lunch break.

Our Kind of Love

By Elham Ehsas and Azeem Bhati | Romance
An Afghan village girl goes on her first date in London.

Lost and Found

By Andrew Goldsmith and Bradley Slabe | Animation
A clumsy crochet dinosaur must unravel itself to save the love of its life.

Edmund the Magnificent ft. David Bradley & Ian McKellen

By Ben Ockrent | Comedy
A farmer invests his savings in a piglet.

Reception

By Joe Gillette | Romance
2 strangers at a wedding reception make an unexpected connection.

Exit Strategy

By Travis Bible | Sci-Fi
A man in a time-loop must work with his brother to prevent a catastrophic fire.


Your favorite short films you haven't seen yet.

Inspiring and insightful. Entertaining and enlightening. That's what you can expect here: no fluff. Just a steady stream of the best films delivered to your inbox.