TorinoFilmLab - Training, development, Funding


Los Algodones

Santiago Fabregas


Megan, a sweet and glamorous retiree, enjoys a glowing life in a small town while defending her borders with local anti-immigration group “America First”. When awarded ‘Citizen of The Year’, all Megan’s dreams come true. But after a harmless toothache becomes chronic, she confronts the
crippling costs of US dental treatment. After Megan’s tooth falls out on a hot date, action must be taken. Remembering her Latina pedicurist's suggestion to visit “Dental Disneyland” - the border town Los Algodones - Megan enlists the help of her hapless friend, Nancy, to confront the unimaginable. The two must go to Mexico, a country dreaded above all others, to chase a Hollywood Smile. Over the border, the friends discover a retiree’s paradise: everything’s sunny, affordable - even the Mexican dentist is gorgeous. Slowly, surely, their American Dream is threatened by true happiness. The pair party hard on margaritas, until one day Megan loses her passport. Forced to cross the border undocumented, Megan sees another side of migration: those deported from a country they, and she, love. Back home, the friends’ personal transformations remain lost in translation. Altering the opinions of others, it seems, can be harder than pulling teeth.


This is a satire about the strange artificiality of national borders. About the way we as humans try to defend our largely fabricated territories by defining our largely fabricated differences. In this film prejudice, conformity and disillusion are all told through the character of a sweet old woman who is mainly a victim of her circumstances. It’s also an homage to my grandmother and my father, both of whom are the warmest and kindest people imaginable, but happen to hold radically opposing views, causing them to live in a world of eternal conflict.
Los Algodones is a feel-good movie with non-fictional elements set in a complex context. I see satire as an opportunity to reflect on the complex, and often absurd, relationship between two bordering countries. As well as being about reversing preconceived ideas, it is also a story about reverse migration, about people coming to Mexico not as immigrants but as everyday people seeking happiness and better opportunities. In the end, America and Mexico need each other, and we all need to go to the dentist.

With no health insurance an anti-immigration activist in her 70’s crosses into Mexico for new teeth.
Santiago Fabregas

Director, Scriptwriter, Production

production notes

original title
Los Algodones

produced byThe Lift
11850, Mexico City
Mexico City, Mexico

total production budget
€ 2,000,000.00