EDITORS NOTE: This is part of a series of interviews, conducted via email, profiling directors who have films screening at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival.
Screening in the World Documentary Feature Competition, director Lucia Gaja‘s “My Life Inside” chronicles the journey of 17 year old Rosa Jimenez. Rosa immigrated to the United States from Mexico as a teenager, finding work and a husband in Texas. But tragedy struck when an incident involving a two year-old boy Rosa was babysitting resulted in her incarceration in a Texas prison. For murder. indieWIRE talked to Gaja about the film and her expectations for its screening at Tribeca.
What initially attracted you to filmmaking?
Well, my father studied filmmaking and then cinematography. At the begining – when I was a child – I was sure that filmmaking was not for me, but after I realized that there was no way out and that cinema was my destiny. I love stories, and Ilove life through camera, through different visions. It is the best way for me to express how I feel about the world.
What was the inspiration for this film?
Mexican women living in the US. their stories, their difficulties, their lives in prision. To tell a little bit more about the dark side of the american dream
Please elaborate a bit on your approach to making the film…
I started the investigation of “My Life Inside” seven years ago. It was really difficult to get the information of the Mexican women in prison, but when I got access everything went really well in the matter of production. It was hard to shoot the trial – everyday was difficult emotionally – but it made me stronger. Meeting Rosa and having the opportunity to interview her and her family made this movie possible. It was a long proccess, but I learn a lot about documentary filmmaking and about telling hard and true stories of human lives.
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced in developing the project?
Finding the information about the women in prison, shooting Rosa’s trial and the edition process, because I shoot a lot of hours.
What are your goals for the Tribeca Film Festival?
I hope I can really talk to the audience and another filmmakers about the movie, learn from other filmmakers, see great films and have lots of fun.