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Year: 2004
USA: Miramax Films
UK: Buena Vista International UK
Cast: Mia Maestro, Carlos Julio Molina, Pedro Perez, Carlos Madera, Jean Paul Leroux, Ruben Blades, Dalila Colombo, Elba Escobar, Dimas Gonzalez, Balmore Moreno, Ermahn Ospina, Rider
Director: Jonathan Jakubowicz
Country: Venezuela
Language: Spanish (English subtitles)
USA: 86 mins
UK: 87 mins
USA Rated: R for strong violence, drug use, sexuality and language
UK Certificate: 18
USA Release Date: 5 August 2005 (Limited Release)
UK Release Date: 9 June 2006


SECUESTRO EXPRESS: Quick kidnappings perpetrated by small groups of organized thugs who randomly choose their victims from among the upper class. The abduction usually lasts several hours, or as long as it takes for the kidnappers to extort money from the victims' family. The ransom is "reasonable," money the family is most likely to pay without ever involving the authorities. The success of the secuestro express in recent years has made it a thriving and profitable business in Latin America.

Every 60 seconds a person is abducted in Latin America. 70% of the victims do not survive!

SECUESTRO EXPRESS is the frightening story of one young couple's nightmare as they careen through the underbelly of Caracas, Venezuela, in the hands of three thugs who've made them their latest payday.

Carla (Mia Maestro) and Martin (Jean Paul Leroux), are a young upper-class couple fresh off of a night of dancing and partying when they cross paths with Trece (Carlos Molina), Budu (Pedro Perez) and Niga (Carlos Madera), three men who make their living by kidnapping unwitting young adults to extort quick money from their wealthy parents.

Carla and Martin become the next victims and are sent on a terrifying overnight journey through Caracas as they wait for Carla's father Sergio (Ruben Blades) to hand over twenty thousand dollars - a small amount for a rich Caraqueno, but the equivalent of almost 5 years of the Venezuelan minimum wage.

The Actors

As soon as Mia Maestro read SECUESTRO EXPRESS, she knew she wanted to do it. Born in Argentina to an upper-class family that regularly needed to protect itself from such kidnapping attacks, the actress recognized herself in the character of Carla. Mia laughs now at the hours of Venezuelan soap operas she watched to nail the nuances of the accent.

Ruben Blades, a social fighter, who was even a candidate for President in his home country Panama, fell in love with the project when he read the script. "I was never in a Spanish language movie before, and I thought this was the right first one for me, because it was born in the mean streets of Latin America," he said. "It speaks from the heart and soul of the streets like where I was born - where violence is your daily bread, and the people in power are deaf. I believe in the youth, and this film is the youth of South America talking to the world."

The street knowledge of the three men - Carlos Molina, Pedro Perez and Carlos Madera - who landed the roles as the kidnappers is what made the director decide to cast them. During the audition, Jakubowicz says he saw the single best 30 minutes of non-stop improvisation he had ever seen. It was clear to him that no actor could inhabit the parts better than real ghetto kids who have lived all their lives struggling with the misery, violence, injustice and hunger of Caracas.

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