“La Camioneta: The Journey of One American School Bus” (2012 American documentary) review



I decided to watch this movie assuming it was a foreign film because I refused to read a synopsis for any of the films for Cinequest.


Often folks from various different places go to an auction to bid on used school buses. Sometimes, they go to another county in need of school buses or used in various different situations after being sold. In this case, we follow one school bus as it transitions from being a mode of transportation to school children in the United States to being rebranded as a public transportation vehicle in Guatemala.

It goes through a makeover as it goes through portions of the United States through Mexico, and eventually, it enters its final home, Guatemala. Goodbye classic yellow school bus colors and hello to the brand new red, white, and blue artwork along with the refurbishing details.

Although the transformation is nice, we also look into the scary world that Guatemalans deal with on a daily basis, primarily the gangs that occupy some of the buses. Violence and murder do occur which makes the bus drivers heroes just for surviving the day and getting the passengers from point A to point B.


It was pretty interesting because I’ve always thought that old school buses would just go to the junkyard after they hit retirement. I’m glad to see that they’re put to good use somewhere else. It’s the old case where one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. They use American buses with their own Guatemalan flare.


As much as it was interesting to watch, it wouldn’t seem interesting on paper. I honestly wouldn’t have watched the documentary if I didn’t utilize my random select when it came to picking movies.


It was one of the first movies I saw during the 2013 Cinequest season. I honestly picked this movie assuming it was going to be a foreign film since it had a Spanish title. I had no idea what “La Camioneta” meant because my Spanish skills do not exist that much. I enjoyed it not because it was entertaining, but because it was informative. The lesson learned outweighed the entertainment value even though I seek movies that can entertain me.

Overall rating: 3/5

Reviewed by: Mr. Timtastic

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