“Manos Sucias” — premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival this week — is a gritty and daunting film about Colombian teens who get into drug trafficking, but takes care to remind the viewer that despite their dangerous profession, they are still just normal kids.
Spike Lee taught director Josef Wladyka at NYU, then jumped aboard to executive produce the Spanish language drama that marks Wladyka’s feature film debut; he spent years making shorts that won awards at festivals around the world. Lee has long supported young filmmakers, and this was one of the most ambitious of those projects.
“Manos Sucias” was shot on location, with local Colombian non-actors cast in the leading roles, and in this exclusive clip, their enthusiasm seems quite natural.
Later on, their smiles are quite diminished, so this scene stands as an important marker in their journey.