Sand Dollars (film)

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Sand Dollars
Sand Dollars (film).jpg
Film poster
Directed by Laura Amelia Guzmán
Israel Cárdenas
Written by Laura Amelia Guzmán
Israel Cárdenas
Starring Geraldine Chaplin
Aurora Dominicana
Rei Cine
Distributed by FiGa
Release date
  • 7 September 2014 (2014-09-07) (TIFF)
Running time
80 minutes
Country Dominican Republic
Language Spanish

Sand Dollars (Spanish: Dólares de Arena) is a 2014 Dominican drama film directed by Laura Amelia Guzmán and Israel Cárdenas. It was selected to be screened in the Contemporary World Cinema section at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.[1] The film was selected as the Dominican entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards but it was not nominated.[2][3]

In 2016 director Laura Amelia Guzmán announced she was working on a sequel called Noelí Overseas.


Noeli is a young Dominican woman working as an escort for tourists. She has a three-year relationship with Anne (Geraldine Chaplin) a much older French woman who buys her services. Despite the fact that they have a transactional relationship Anne is very much in love with Noeli and Noeli plans to use her in order to get a visa to go to France from where she hopes to go to Barcelona to reconnect with her mother who has immigrated there.

While out with Anne, Noeli sees her boyfriend with another girl at a club. She angrily confronts him while Anne is in the washroom, but Anne sees the tail end of their fight. Anne leaves the club and Noeli tries to stop her from leaving. However, when it becomes clear that all Noeli wants is for Anne to pay their bar tab, Anne slaps Noeli and leaves. On her way home Noeli gets into a motorcycle accident and has her motorcycle stolen from her as she is left injured on the side of the road.

Anne struggles for a few days as she doesn't hear from Noeli and thinks she has abandoned her. Noeli meanwhile does not want to go back to Anne and tells her boyfriend to start providing for them. As money runs out she returns to Anne and tells her she is pregnant. Anne accompanies her to get an ultrasound to see if her unborn child is hurt and together they see the sonogram. After their reunion Anne presents Noeli with a passport and visa so that they can go to France together. She confesses to a friend that she doesn't believe that Noeli will be happy in Paris and they will be able to return to the Dominican Republic soon.

Noeli's boyfriend learns she is pregnant and plans to have the child overseas. He asks her to stay and she declines going ahead with the preparations to leave with Anne.

The night of her departure Noeli's boyfriend comes to visit her. Noeli gathers up her passport, money and papers and leaves a sleeping Anne. She and her boyfriend drive away and she tells him she loves him.



Directors Guzmán and Cárdenas based their script on the novel Sand Dollars by Jean-Noel Pancrazi. The original script, like the novel, was about two men, but the directors rewrote the script to feature two women after Geraldine Chaplin expressed interest in appearing in the film.[4]

Yanet Mojica had never acted previously to appearing in the film but was selected based on the close resemblance of her life to that of the character she portrayed.[5]

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