Graying the Border

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Gunshots fired in a car seen from outside, a small group of people disguised in paper mache masks of monstrous figures surrounding a bleeding Mexican police officer, piles of cocaine casually lying around a nightclub: these are the kind of images that make up the scenes in the show pilot of Gray Area, produced by local company DoubleScope Films.

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Gray Area crewmembers work on motel scene.

But Gray Area writer and director Luis Ruiz said he has no intention of glorifying such atrocities through these images. Instead, his intentions are to reveal the horrific consequences that result from political and social corruption.

The story follows the life of ex-drug dealer Roldie Flores, who loses his family and career as a videographer for a mayoral candidate when his past is revealed. Pressured by a longtime friend and drug dealer to do business for him in Juarez, he reluctantly agrees to do so in order to get out of his financial rut, reopening the doors to danger with a cartel leader named “Little Man.”

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The name Gray Area symbolizes a few different points that Ruiz intends to make in his show.

“El Paso and Juarez form a single identity, a gray area,” said Ruiz. “There is also a gray area where political connections trump the rule of law, such as the United States giving immunity to HSBC Bank after they were caught laundering billions of dollars for the cartels. Yet low-level drug dealers who are caught with an ounce of crack are subject to 25 or 30 years in prison.”

Some have told Ruiz that his show might come off as cliché since many films have attempted to portray violent crimes and drug trafficking along the U.S.-Mexico border, but he made a few points claiming why this story will provide more authenticity.

Ruiz said the pilot itself received positive reviews when it premiered at the South by Southwest festival in March, Ruiz said. He intends to shop Gray Area to NBC Universal and El Rey Network.

To read more on Gray Area pick up a copy of The Art Avenue at Kipp’s Cheesesteak in Downtown El Paso.