When 16-year-old gang member Marco Ramirez is arrested, a detective who sees promise in the youth gives him a choice: Job Corps or jail. When Marco chooses Job Corps, there’s a caveat; he must also attend a summer camp. And when he’s told that his best friend Julio will be at the camp, Marco plays along knowing when things cool down he’ll skip and return to the hood. But Alex Shepherd, the black camp director, has other plans when Marco and a diverse group of teens arrive at his leadership camp in the Oregon Cascades.
The campers, all from vastly different racial and cultural backgrounds, face their prejudices head on as Alex guides them in transcending the fear that partitioned their schools, the fear of the unknown - of each other. Marco meets Duane, a black football star, and Ben, a white snowboarder confined to a wheelchair. He also meets and falls for Amy, a pretty white girl who is her school’s valedictorian. But it’s not just the teens who confront the social divisions they’ve left behind; police officers Tony Jacobs, black, and Jim Krueger, white, are sent to camp themselves following an altercation between them.
Their diversity soon becomes their bond as the campers confront the complex issues of racism, sexual identity and peer pressure. Some balk at what they call a foolish effort to “fix” the world, but as the walls that divide them fall and friendships form, Marco grapples with leaving his gang, while his friend Julio resists. But this island of isolation, of shared humanity must end, and as the campers return home the real world becomes their ultimate challenge. Back in LA, Marco chooses to be “outed” from his gang – a potentially deadly decision. He pleads with Julio to follow his lead, but his friend can’t let go of the only family he’s ever known; his gang. And when tragedy strikes it becomes a milestone in Marco’s life, a chance to prove to himself he does have a choice.
The Live the Dream screenplay is available upon request for those interested in this project. Please contact us for a link to the screenplay and treatment, and other information.