Roadside Attractions Acquires Provocative Thriller “City of Dreams” Set in Illicit Los Angeles Sweatshops

Dreamer - directed by Mohit Ramchandani

Mohit Ramchandani’s feature directorial debut is Executive Produced by Academy Award nominated Roma star Yalitza Aparicio and will open nationwide only in theatres April 5th, 2024

Los Angeles ( October 3, 2023 ) -

Roadside Attractions has acquired all U.S. rights to “City of Dreams,” a riveting thriller inspired by the landmark El Monte, CA sweatshop case, about a Mexican boy whose dreams of becoming a soccer star are shattered when he’s smuggled across the border and sold to a sweatshop in downtown Los Angeles. The feature directorial debut from writer/producer Mohit Ramchandani, “Cith of Dreams” uses the power of cinema to spotlight the growing crisis of enslaved child labor in the U.S. “City of Dreams” will open nationwide only in theaters on April 5, 2024.

“City of Dreams” stars Alfredo Castro (“Karnawal,” “The Club,” “Tony Manero”), Paulina Gaitan (“Narcos,” “Sin Nombre,” “El Presidente”), Golden Globe-nominee Diego Calva (“Babylon,” “Narcos: Mexico”), Renata Vaca (“Saw X”), and newcomer Ari Lopez in a breakout lead performance.

The story follows Jesús (“Lopez”), a young farmer in rural Mexico who dreams of playing for Club Puebla, his local soccer team. With the promise of training at a soccer camp in Los Angeles, Jesús is convinced by his father to leave home, but he soon discovers that he’s been sold to a sweatshop run out of a decrepit mansion in downtown Los Angeles. Jesús is subjected to the grueling eighteen-hour work schedule dictated by El Jefe (“Castro”), a boss who promises freedom for those who complete their quotas, and whose brutality is motivated by his own desperation to provide for his family back in Mexico. Despite all, Jesús finds solace in Elena (“Vaca”), a girl who was similarly betrayed and sent to America under the guise of attending a fashion school. When Elena goes missing and another co-worker Carlitos (“Calva”) is severely beaten for confronting El Jefe, Jesús realizes his only way out is a daring escape.

“‘City of Dreams’ has no political bias or agenda. It merely shows you, from the point of view of a young boy, what it would be like to have your dreams stolen and replaced with the hellish nightmare of slavery,” said director Mohit ’Mo’ Ramchandani. ”His story is only one of over 2.8 million undocumented migrants that crossed the border in 2023 and whose forced labor is an unforgiveable stain on countless corporate products.”

The film has been praised by Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass’ Office, Los Angeles Civil Rights Department, and by former Department of State Chief of Staff Mark J. Biedlingmaier, who stated: “It is one of the most emotionally engaging films I have ever seen. I’m excited to share this film with my colleagues in Washington, given this topic touches every single American today.”

Written and directed by Ramchandani, “City of Dreams” was produced and financed by Rufus Parker of P2 Films, Jon Graham and Matt Diezel. Academy Award nominated actress Yalitza Aparicio (“Roma”), Mexican Film Director Luis Mandoki, and Daljit DJ Parmar of Original Entertainment serve as Executive Producers. The music was composed by Academy Award Nominated Composer Lisa Gerrard (“Gladiator,” “Ali,” “Inside Man”) and cinematography by Alejandro Chávez (“Roma”).

“Directorial debuts don’t get any more exciting than this. Mo takes us into a world that we can barely imagine, yet he convinces us it exists right under our noses. The visceral energy of Jesús’ journey is something filmgoers will not soon forget,” said Roadside Attractions Co-Presidents Howard Cohen and Eric d’Arbeloff.

“Mo’s approach of showing the horrors of this world on such a grand canvas and yet so deeply intimate, is truly visionary and unlike any socially inclined film I’ve ever seen before,” producer Rufus Parker said. “I knew it had to be seen in theaters and I’m excited Howard and Eric share my point of view. Roadside are masters at championing unique creative voices and I am excited to be partnering with them.”

Writer/Director Ramchandani is an award-winning writer, producer, and director. His producing credits include “Two Days” starring Paul Rudd, “Don Peyote” starring Anne Hathaway, “Outlaws and Angels” starring Luke Wilson, “The Vault” starring James Franco, “One Mile to You” starring Tim Roth and Billy Crudup, and “Untogether” starring Jamie Dornan and Billy Crystal.

The acquisition was negotiated by Roadside Attractions Co-President Howard Cohen, and Daljit DJ Parmar of Original Entertainment on behalf of the filmmakers. Ramchandani is repped by the Gersh Agency and Sloane, Weber, Offer and Dern.

P2 Films
Founder and CEO of P2 Films, Rufus Parker is a serial entrepreneur having built businesses in software and technology. P2’s credits include David Robert Mitchell’s Under the Silver Lake starring Andrew Garfield and Riley Keough that premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and Wild Nights with Emily starring Molly Shannon. Jon Graham was formerly the head of Viacom International Media Networks in Canada, before exiting to become an independent producer.

About Roadside Attractions
Since its founding in 2003, Roadside Attractions films have grossed over $500 million and garnered 23 Academy Award nominations. Recent releases include Independent Spirit Award winning “Emily The Criminal” starring Aubrey Plaza, Paul Weitz’ revenge comedy “Moving On” starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, Ray Romano’s directorial debut “Somewhere in Queens” starring Romano, Laurie Metcalf, Jennifer Esposito and Sebastian Maniscalco, and Bill Pohlad’s “Dreamin’ Wild” starring Academy Award Winner Casey Affleck, Noah Jupe, and Grammy and Golden Globe Nominee Zooey Deschanel.

Upcoming films from Roadside include the Sundance winning documentary “Beyond Utopia,” directed by Madeleine Gavin and Neil Burger’s “The Marsh King’s Daughter” starring Daisy Ridley and Ben Mendelsohn.

The company has released such critical and commercial hits as “The Courier,” “Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided To Go For It,” “The Alpinist,” “Judy,” “The Peanut Butter Falcon,” “I Can Only Imagine,” “Manchester by the Sea,” “Beatriz at Dinner,” “Love & Friendship,” “Hello, My Name Is Doris,” “Mr. Holmes,” “Love & Mercy,” “A Most Wanted Man,” “Dear White People,” “The Skeleton Twins,” “All Is Lost,” “Mud,” “Winter’s Bone,” “The Cove,” “Arbitrage,” “Margin Call” and “Super Size Me.” Roadside is known for innovative strategies that maximize the value of their films via theatrical box office success.