Maria Full of Grace

Institute History


Maria Alvarez, 17, works in an immense, high-volume rose plantation to the north of Bogota, Colombia. It is tedious, repetitive work, and Maria hates every minute of it. When her defiant attitude leads to a fight with her supervisor, she walks out on the job; however, she quickly finds there are few prospects of finding any other work. To make matters worse, Maria is three months pregnant by a boyfriend she does not love and has no intention of marrying. Despite pressure from her mother and sister, she is unwilling to return to life in the plantations, and grows increasingly desperate to break out of her restrictive world. It is at this moment that she receives an intriguing, albeit frightening, proposition from a friend of a friend: to swallow a hall-kilo of heroin in small rubber pellets and transport it to the United States for $3000.

When she arrives at the airport, Maria is shocked to learn that her best friend Blanca has imitated her, and they are but two of four drug swallowers on the flight to America. After a tense plane ride and an unintended detour through Customs, Maria is delivered into the hands of the traffickers who will receive the drugs. But when things go frighteningly wrong, she is abruptly thrown into the chaotic world of New York City, where in order to bring closure to her "business" she must finally confront the seriousness of her decisions.

Maria Full of Grace is the story of Maria's harrowing journey toward personal freedom. Her defiance and risk-taking spirit start her on a traumatic expedition, but it is ultimately the same undeniable spirit that introduces her into an entirely new and unexpected world.


As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]