Corazon is another in a bevy of solid films on this year's Fly Fishing Film Tour (F3T). Directed by R.A. Beattie and filmed by Beattie and photographer Bryan Gregson, the film takes viewers to the tiny island of Holbox, which sits just offshore of the Mexico mainland, in search of tarpon and permit and quite a bit more.
The film tells the story of renowned angler and tarpon guide named Sandflea—who, when off the water, is center of community, teaching, feeding and guidance to his family, friends and neighbors—and the friendship forged between him and gringo Mike Dawes (from New Jersey), who stumbled into Sandflea’s home years ago while bumming his way around Mexico. Dawes narrates the story, tracing it forward from his troubled family and past, through his reconciliation with his father (eventually culminating in Dawes' life-saving organ donation), to his eventual encounter with Sandflea.
The film's final segment details Sandflea's ongoing struggle with heart valve defects, caused by a childhood bout of scarlet fever that weakened his heart, the damage from which has led him to requiring a third valve replacement surgery. The response from Dawes is the organization of a funding campaign to help cover Sandflea's extensive medical costs, the response to which is overwhelming and unexpected. As Dawes' puts it to those he seeks help from, "[Sandflea's] willingness to share with all of us makes it all the more ironic ... the guy with the biggest heart needs a new one."
Corazon, more than anything, is a celebration of life. But it is also the story of an unexpected friendship, one that crosses cultures and borders. And I'll be damned if it isn't one we need right now.