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Rodrigo Pla

Director, Mexico

Since the success of his short works like “El ojo en la nuca” (2000), Pla has enjoyed a growing reputation. He has now delivered on that buzz with his debut feature, “La Zona,” which nabbed two prizes at the Venice Film Fest.And the acclaim continued onto the Toronto fest, where the film won the Fipresci prize.

Pla names Werner Herzog, Lars von Trier and Costa-Gavras as influences for his making “La Zona,” which uses the widening gap between rich and poor in Latin America as the basis of this thriller set in a gated community surrounded by a slum.

Pla is now finishing post on “Desierto adentro,” which was actually shot before “La Zona.” He describes this sophomore effort as a film about “religious madness,” and says it was inspired by the life of philosopher Soren Kierkegaard as transposed into a character living through Mexico’s Cristero War, a political-religious conflict in the 1920s.

“Films serve to think and reflect a bit on what we are living through,” Pla says. “I’m thinking out loud and trying to get a reaction.”