Esmeralda Santiago’s America’s Dream Brought to the Screen

Writer Esmeralda Santiago is currently in Río Piedras, where America, based on the Puerto Rican author´s novel America’s Dream is being filmed. The film is produced by Frances Lausell and directed by filmmaker Sonia Fritz (Isla Films). Santiago traveled to Puerto Rico to meet the cast. She says that she is impressed with the casting selection, “Lymari Nadal plays ‘America’ and her husband, the well known actor, producer, and director Edward James Olmos, will perform one of the major characters, Don Irving.” Other cast members include Yancey Arias, Frank Perozo, Rachel Ticotin, Luis Gonzaga, Marisé Álvarez, Anamín Santiago, Eyra Agüero and Roy Sánchez.

Santiago’s novel tells the story of America, a woman who works as housekeeper in a Vieques hotel. She lives with her alcoholic mother and her teenage daughter. Haunted by an ongoing violent relationship with the father of her daughter, she decides to accept a position as a nanny in New York City and moves without telling anyone her whereabouts. America’s Dream explores the complex psychological state of women in abusive relationships, who are torn between the secrecy imposed on them by social stigma and the need to seek help.

This is the second time one of Santiago’s novels has been brought to the big screen. In 2001, the filmic version of Almost a Woman premiered in the United States.

For full articles (in Spanish), see and

2 thoughts on “Esmeralda Santiago’s America’s Dream Brought to the Screen

  1. I played as an extra in the movie America while they were filming in Vieques. My grandmother who was born and raised in Vieques, as in the movie, secretly fled to NYC from an abusive relationship. Although, now deceased, being a part of a story in which she would have been able to relate to would had made her proud and less ashamed. She sold her wedding ring and only radio fo pay for her flight and took nothing with her. She was terrified! More tough than terrified I think. Anyway, the staff from islafilms were great, organized and took good care of us, especially Maria Alejandra & Aida. Many thanks for the writer & production company for bringing to light what happened & sadly continues to occur (regardless whether or not my tiny part is shown). It was my pleasure & lots of fun! You are all sure to do well!


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