FLIGHTS OF FANCY (El Lujo de Soñar)

FLIGHTS OF FANCY (El Lujo de Soñar) header image 3

SYNOPSIS

FLIGHTS OF FANCY is the fish-out-of-water, true story of one man’s drive to realize the dream of a lifetime—to become a doctor despite seemingly insurmountable odds and at times even the discouragement of those who should believe in him. Lalo’s story begins during his childhood, when he experiences the tragic disintegration of his family due to financial bankruptcy. In the blink of an eye, Lalo’s possibility of his dream career becoming a reality vanishes. The pressure for him and his brothers to surrender their own ambitions in exchange for taking jobs that will provide for the family is overwhelming and heart wrenching. But through it all, Lalo holds onto the deeply rooted hope that maybe one day…someday…he will be able to afford that coveted medical career. As he grows up, he is challenged to become his own man without forsaking his family, a process that begins when Lalo chooses to run away from home as a teenager in pursuit of romance and adventure.

Left without alternatives, Lalo focuses his energy on moving to the U.S., leaving behind his struggling parents who, while refusing to give up hope, are haunted, nonetheless, by all that has been lost. He embarks on a life-altering adventure that starts with a treacherous, coyote-guided border crossing into the U.S., via Tijuana, Mexico. Lalo then begins a new life in the United States as an undocumented immigrant, staying with his quirky aunt, Tía Gloria, who immediately upon his arrival puts him to work in exchange for $5/day and room and board. Unable to speak English, and ignorant in the ways of his new world, Lalo is given one job: chopping tomatoes and onions for hours, making pico de gallo at Tía Gloria’s restaurant. Undaunted by the language barrier and his Tía’s constant fearful warnings of his potential deportation, Lalo finds a second job working at the headquarters of the Los Angeles Police Department, ironically located directly across the street from “La Migra.”

Every day, Lalo’s life is filled with challenges, ranging from risking being caught and deported by immigration officials to not speaking any English. In addition, he is personally challenged by his loving aunt’s low expectations of him. While he remains steadfast on becoming a doctor, he has little support from his extended family, most of whom see this as an impossible dream. Lalo goes on to prove to his Tía that he can and will be more than a busboy in her restaurant or a hotel bellhop for American tourists in El Salvador—the only kind of future that is planned for him by her and the rest of the family. He also makes a decision that will forever transform the course of his life—he enrolls in night school to learn English. Eventually, he is fluent enough to attend community college, before transferring to a four-year university, where he graduates as a pre-Med major. Remarkably, his MCAT scores are so high, that he places in the top 1 percentile of test-takers that year and is accepted at the nation’s top medical schools.

But not all is perfect in Lalo’s life. He holds down several jobs in order to survive and to maintain his family in El Salvador. For years, he sends them as much of his earnings as he’s able to, helping to pay for his younger brother’s education, in particular. In addition, he is haunted by a profound sense of loneliness, moving from one bad romantic relationship to another, until he finally meets the ideal woman: Nidia.

Lalo goes on to complete medical school and his residency before launching his own successful private practice that continues to flourish to this day. Inspired by Lalo’s own example and as a result of his very real financial support of the family, his younger brother, Tony, is able to pursue his own dreams, which take him from radio ad man, to sports announcer, to builder of a media empire, and finally to President of his beloved nation. Today, Elías Antonio (“Tony”) Saca is the former President of El Salvador.

What makes Lalo’s story particularly cinematic is the fact that it’s a universally compelling tale of the human drive to thrive rather than merely survive. FLIGHTS OF FANCY is a drama with comedic overtones that is the psychological, character-driven, coming-of-age, rags-to-riches embodiment of the American Dream.