by Laura Somers
Rich Kids is a drama about a group of troubled teens in a low-income community who resolve to break into “Los Ricos”, the local mansion with a border fence, in order to forget their difficult lives and experience a different one.
About The Project
Mattias is an unassuming teenage boy just trying to get by in his working class community after his father deserts the family. He wouldn’t survive without his best friend Steve, even if he’s overly cautious, and his brilliant and cute friend Vanesa, who’s the first person in their neighborhood to be accepted to college.
But when the three of them find out a wealthy neighbor’s out of town, they break into the mansion and spend the greatest afternoon of their lives pretending to be rich. That is, until Steve’s troublemaking cousin Carlos shows up uninvited and the party takes a dark turn. The friend’s loyalties are tested when the desire for power within the walls of the house rises, secrets are revealed, and relationships are pushed to the breaking point.
About the script
From Laura Somers (co-writer/director): This story is loosely inspired by the kids from my neighborhood and by an incident that happened in the house I grew up in. My house was ten times bigger than any of the houses in the low income community across the street. The house also had a large fence surrounding it. A few years ago a group of kids broke into the house while my parents were away. The kids had a one hell of a great night before it ended in tragedy when one of them died.
This break-in got me thinking a lot about what it must be like for the lower income kids to live next to an affluent neighbor who had a big fence around their house. What message is the fence sending to them? In our country, all of our systems, whether they be economic, justice, or education, create their own invisible fences blocking equal access to working class, poor and ethnic communities. This is the theme that is central to the film, one that I’m very passionate about exploring.
From David Saldaña (co-writer): When Laura and I met to discuss her idea for the Rich Kidsscript she already had a basic story line mapped out in her head and ideas on shaping the narrative and characters. Having developed a familiarity with each other’s work over the past six or so years we’d discovered our overlapping story telling sensibilities and love of character over plot. The choice to co-write the screenplay seemed like a no-brainer and luckily, we were rewarded with a relatively “effortless” process.
Before writing a single word we talked a lot, about being from Texas, about being a teenager, about being a parent, about groups unrepresented in film and television and how all those things have shaped us as screenwriters today. For me, this was wonderful opportunity to develop and explore the lives of characters that I wanted to see on the screen without fretting about the mechanics and devices that I’d spent so many hours on when working on specs and pilots, story over plot we said. To me, this meant an obligation to be as honest as possible so that the story would be compelling– provoking thought and emotion for the audience.