David Riker’s film The Girl Opens in Austin Today

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The feature film, The Girl, is written/directed by David Riker (Dirty Wars, Sleep Dealer, La Ciudad) and was shot in Mexico and the Central Texas area, including Austin, Georgetown, Kyle, San Marcos and Manor. During my telephone interview with the filmmaker, we discussed how Austin became part of the locations for filming. “As for Austin, it was logistics. I was not able to film along the border as I had planned after doing research, so I had to recreate the border in Oaxaca and the San Antonio portion of it in Austin. I chose Austin because it has the strongest film crews.”

The film has additional ties to our city with former Rio Grande Valley/Austin resident, Raul Castillo, who portrays a border agent. When I mentioned this actor’s name and knowing of his skills in local productions, Riker replied, “It was such a treat to work with him!” He added, “Raul went to the shoot in Mexico by taking several planes, then other transportation to get to the site where the river runs into the Pacific Ocean. Since I had to recreate the Rio Grande River in Mexico, I was looking for the same area that is flat and the same shrubs. The first thing that Raul said when he arrived was, ‘I feel like I am back home.'”

The film stars Abbie Cornish, Will Patton, and is introducing Maritza Santiago Hernandez. When I asked Riker how he found this actress to play the role of Rosa, he explained the following. “I found her after a long and complicated search of over 3,000 in the central valleys of Oaxaca. I needed to find someone with all of the qualities. When I am casting a “non-professional,” I am looking for someone who in a profound way is the character. It was hard to find her, but it was a pleasure to work with her.”

The film keeps the focus on Ashley’s journey through her inaction or wrong judgement with her son, and the actions taken with delving into helping the immigrants in the streets of Mexico who want to come to the US, instead of taking a stance either way on the immigration issues. Also, there are no scenes of indepth questioning by Mexican officials about how Ashley has Rosa and how the officials would release the child to her after being placed in care. In this film’s story, things for the most part stay rather positive, as opposed to the very negative side of this risky behavior Ashley decides to attempt.

If Rosa (Maritza Santiago Hernandez) is a “non-professional” actor, then Riker has done an amazing job of molding her into one that can easily pursue this as a career, although the petite child was having told the media in Mexico she prefers to finish school and become a teacher, according to Riker. Sounds like this young lady has set her priorities already!

Synopsis: Struggling with the loss of her child to Social Services, a single mother is trapped in the quicksand of her south Texas life, unwilling to accept the consequences of her actions. When her path collides with a young girl from Mexico, she begins a journey that will change her life – teaching her that she is the architect of her own fate and learning what it is that truly defines home.

The 94 minute film has a PG-13 rating and will open in Austin on April 5, 2013 at the AMC Theater in Barton Creek Mall.

Liz Lopez

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Source: Brainstorm Media

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