My Uphill Battle

Creator: Marvin Ortiz
Age rating: 13 and older
A non-fiction story based on the life of Marvin "Smiley" Ortiz. A young L.A gang member who is sent to what is known at the time the deadliest prison in the U.S; Corcoran also known as "The gladiator school."
Synopsis: Marvin didn’t know he was born in El Salvador. He was reared in the urban area of South Central Los Angeles. In junior high he joins a street gang. He ends up in an infamous prison (Corcoran) for holding “gladiator fights” between Hispanic and Black inmates. Upon completing his sentence he is sent to El Salvador where he faces new challenges. Desperation drives him to head back to the U.S but he’s arrested by Border Patrol and charged for the crime of “illegal reentry.” After seven years behind bars he is sent back again, this time determine to live a normal. Marvin finds comfort and loyalty on a dog with the name of Cujo. But the gang violence of the MARA SALVATRUCHA 13 forces a group of vigilantes to form a death squad to exterminate all gang members. Marvin is targeted but manages to escape this group, leaving Cujo behind he travels across Central America accompanied by his girlfriend (Gabi) seeking a better life; however, he’s not able to find the help he looks for. Finally Mexico grants him the help he is looking for thereafter, Marvin returns to El Salvador risking his life determined to bring the dog – his best friend – to Mexico.

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