Filmmaker Fernando Frías de la Parra knows his way around the vibrant and the mundane, the eerie and the all-too-real, and fans of HBO’s unique series “Los Espookys” are well-acquainted with how that translates to his work behind the camera. Fresh off directing all six episodes of the fledgling series’ first season, Frías de la Parra is back with a different kind of vision of a world thrown off its axis.
At least, that’s how it feels for his central star, gang leader Ulises Samperio, who is forced to leave his Mexican hometown and flee for the hopeful safety of Queens. But even in a place meant to keep Ulises and his family from harm, nothing is easy and everything comes with a new kind of danger than what he’s used to.
Per the film’s official synopsis: “In the mountains of Monterrey, Mexico, a small street gang named ‘Los Terkos’ spend their days listening to slowed down cumbia music and attending dance parties, showing off their outfits, hairstyles and gang alliances. Ulises Samperio, the leader of Los Terkos, tries to protect his friends from the nefarious elements of a quickly evolving drug/political war, but after a misunderstanding with a local cartel, he is forced to leave for Jackson Heights, Queens, a diverse immigrant community in New York City. Ulises tries to assimilate, but when he learns that his gang and the whole Kolombia culture is under threat, he questions his place in America and longs to return home.”
The film’s script won the Bengala award in 2013 and was later published as a short story. In 2014, the script was chosen for the Sundance Screenwriters Lab, and later that year, it also won the Gabriel Figueroa Development Grant at Los Cabos Film Festival. Prior to his narrative work, Frías de la Parra worked in documentary films and much of his newer work, including “I’m No Longer Here,” retains elements of fact-based investigation.