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Screens & Tech

Director Patricia Riggen: rebellious teen to Latina filmmaker

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

Mendes and Riggen during a break from shooting.

After introducing herself to audiences in 2007 with the heartwarming drama Under the Same Moon (La misma luna), director Patricia Riggen, 41, returns to the big screen with a coming-of-age film about the conflict between a rebellious teenage daughter and her mother in Girl in Progress. The Current spoke to Riggen last week about her new film and the difficulty she had growing up as an independent spirit in a conservative home in Guadalajara.

Were you a rebellious teenager like your main character in Girl in Progress?
Well, I grew up in a very conservative family. I wanted to be independent. I loved going out to parties and dancing and being with my friends and boyfriend — everything a normal teen would do. I never got into anything really bad. That was already bad enough in a conservative family. I just wanted to live my life.

Do you think it was harder for you as a teen growing in a Latino family?
Oh my God, yes. Especially in a very machista society like Mexico, women are meant to get married. That's the goal in life. It's not a bad goal, but I always thought, "Why not combine that with getting a career and being a professional?" That was my struggle. Thankfully, I was able to do that. I am a female Latina director. I am a very rare species.

If you could talk to your teenage self, what would you tell her?
I would tell her to be more self-assured and to enjoy life while it lasts, especially those younger years. Life is hard, but you just have to keep going and make the best of it.

You have a 4-year-old daughter. Are you already overly worried about her?
Oh, absolutely. She is very independent like I was. I think my job as a mother is to just guide her through her emotions. But I'm still afraid she's going to end up falling in love any day now.

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