Riggen broke out as a major talent earlier this year after a bidding war at Sundance for her independently produced feature debut “Under the Same Moon.”
When the dust settled, the producer-director had landed a $5 million sale to Fox Searchlight and the Weinstein Co.
“The U.S. market is opening up, and Spanish-language films are finally being taken seriously,” Riggen says. Her film bows Stateside in March.
Riggen had worked as an a.d. and a producer of shorts, but in the mid-90s there were few opportunities in Mexico for female helmers, as she recalls it. So Riggen packed off to New York a decade ago and produced two award-winning shorts after studying at Columbia U.’s film school. Relocating to Los Angeles in 2005 spurred her to produce the immigrant-themed “Moon.”
“I moved to Los Angeles and suddenly I was just another one of the millions of Mexicans living in the U.S.,” she recalls. “There is a big anti-Mexican sentiment nowadays.”
At present, Riggen is finalizing deals to direct two studio films in English and may launch her own production company.