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As London MexFest launches, a rising Mexican film producer talks

PUBLISHED: 14:55 10 July 2013 | UPDATED: 14:55 10 July 2013

Tania Zarak whose film The Girl will have its European premiere in Bethnal Green

Tania Zarak whose film The Girl will have its European premiere in Bethnal Green

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Film producer Tania Zarak talks about her inspiration for The Girl

By her own admission Tania Zarak comes from a creative stable.

Her mother was a photographer and her father ran a book publishing company. The result is that Tania, now a film producer, will have the European premiere of her first film at Rich Mix as it launches the MexFest.

Tania, 33, said: “I was always interested in storytelling as a young girl. I remember the Blue Lagoon with Brooke Shields and for some reason that had a strong impact on me and I wanted to tell stories, take people on journeys to foreign places and create another world and that was always very appealing to me.

“As a child I was not allowed to watch TV, or not much. We were allowed to watch films and that was all that we were allowed to do.

“My mum was a photographer so she would bring me to all her assignments so I pretty much grew up in the field in a way and that was all so stimulating.

“My father was a book publisher in Mexico. If you compare that to films and watching him edit books, that was very similar to editing films. So it was quite a creative stable.”

After finishing college Tania headed off to New York at the age of 24, where she was lucky enough to get an internship with Tribeca Films, a production company run by Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal. Within six months she was hired and began on the career path that has brought her across the world.

Since then she has worked in the development and production of films such as Pan’s Labyrinth, The Departed, Backyard and an adaptation of Gabriel García Márquez’ News of a Kidnapping.

In 2007 she returned to Mexico as president of Argos Cine, the largest independent film studio in Latin America. Two years later she left the position and founded Bonita Films after seeing the script for what became The Girl, her first film with her new company.

The film will be screened on July 11 at The RichMix to launch London MexFest. The film features actress Abbie Cornish as a young Texan mother who loses her son to foster care and begins smuggling Mexicans across the border. When things go wrong, she is left with a young girl and the film charts their developing relationship.

Tania recalls that she read the script for the film on a plane to Mexico City and realised it was just what she wanted to do. Less than a year later, they began shooting the film.

“The thing that really got me about it was that although it is a story that features immigration social turmoil, it is a story that is about the relationship between two women. I think it is a very powerful, honest story. It is a story that has universal appeal, because it is about a little girl and the character played by Abbie Cornish for whom it is a real vindication for her. She sees in this little girl an opportunity to forgive herself for her own past mistakes.”

Although Tania, who recently celebrated her 33rd birthday in Paris, is based in New York she also spends time in Mexico.

London MexFest runs at The RichMix in Bethnal Green Road, Bethnal Green, from July 11 to July 14. For more details go to: http://www.richmix.org.uk/whats-on/festival/london-mexfest-2013/

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