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Meet the 2012 Tribeca Filmmakers #38: Alberto Rodriguez, ‘Unit 7’

Meet the 2012 Tribeca Filmmakers #38: Alberto Rodriguez, ‘Unit 7’

Alberto Rodriguez’s first solo feature was “The Suit” in 2002, after co-directing “The Pilgrim Factor” in 2000. In 2005, his “7 Virgins” received six Goya Award nominations in 2005, followed by three Goya nominations in 2009 for “After.” Rodriguez says, “I’ve had a fairly eclectic career,” having done drama, comedy and social issue films. He intended on studying journalism because of his interest in storytelling, but he then realized film was the best medium to tell them in.

What “Unit 7” is about: In 1992, in Seville, a city in the South of Spain, World Expo was opened to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the discovery of America. With this in mind, a special police unit was formed to “clean” the city center of drug dealers. It’s the story of this unit as it got the job done using methods inside and outside the law.

Director Rodriguez says: “We tried to make a highly realistic film. I believed the closer we got to reality, the stronger the story would be. Research took about six months. We interviewed district attorneys, judges, lawyers, journalists, thieves, dealers,… Police who were still active and had lived the period all helped to recreate the story, even the scenography, in a highly meticulous manner. Furthermore, we spent untold hours in the library reading current affairs of the time to make the movie as believable as possible.”

On the challenges: “There were quite a few. ‘Group 7’ is an ensemble film; there are many characters which had to be made believable, with individual personalities. On the other hand, I had never made an action film, so that was also a challenge. Perhaps the most complicated thing was finding a balance between the action and the characters. In the end, I’m always more interested in the characters.”

On his hopes for the Tribeca audience: “’Group 7’ is a movie made for public enjoyment, for people to have a good time in the cinema.Aside from that, it carries with it a critical view of a universal theme which is that when a highly visible, social event is to take place in any city in the world, there is a tendency to step over citizens’ rights with the excuse of doing things for ‘a loftier purpose.’”

Indiewire invited Tribeca Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they’re doing next. We’ll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2012 festival.

Keep checking HERE every day up to the launch for the latest profiles.

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