Laurence Cruz

Writer - Screenwriter - Visual Storyteller

​A collection of film projects—short and long, finished and still taking shape, produced and unproduced.


CARLOS RIQUELME, a simple, decent, 40-year-old Mexican man, doesn’t ask much from life—just to keep tending the yards of L.A.’s wealthy, to avoid deportation, and to give his estranged son, LUIS, a better life than he had. But when a business opportunity that will allow him to take control of his destiny is stolen from under his nose, his life is thrown into adventure. Directed by Academy Award nominee Chris Weitz (The Twilight Saga: New Moon, About a Boy), A Better Life is an original, moving and at times heart-pounding drama that follows father and son as they scour L.A.’s gang-riddled neighborhoods in search of a stolen pickup truck that represents their only chance of a better life and of healing the rift between them.

When Riquelme’s boss offers to sell him his pickup truck and gardening business, Riquelme has no choice but to refuse—even though it will mean going back to begging for work on a street corner. He simply can’t afford it. But when his sister ANITA comes through with a loan, Riquelme suddenly finds himself with a shot at the American Dream. Not for long. On the first day of his new life, while he is high in a palm tree pruning fronds, his newly hired helper, SANTIAGO, makes off with the pickup—and with it, Riquelme’s shot at a better life for himself and Luis.

What follows is a colorful, often nail-biting odyssey as Riquelme and Luis make their way across an urban landscape as full of surprises as it is diverse, piecing together clues to lead them to Santiago and the pickup. It’s a journey that exposes the little-known lives of the masses of undocumented workers that keep the lifeblood of L.A.’s service industries pumping. And the stakes could not be higher: Like the new green fronds that feed nutrients to the palm trees Riquelme prunes and that he so carefully leaves intact, Luis is extremely vulnerable—always in danger of falling into the gang-banger lifestyle that surrounds their East L.A. home. That’s something that Riquelme, the gardener, will do anything to prevent.

More Samples

  • All Is Lost - synopsis. Click here.
  • In A World - synopsis. Click here
  • Jobs  - synopsis. Click here.
  • Upside Down - synopsis. Click here.
  • Phantom - synopsis. Click here
  • Einstein - press release. Click here.

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