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Profile - Rigoberto Castaneda

Rigoberto Castaneda

Name Rigoberto Castaneda

Born 27 February 1973, Mexico City

Background Castaneda was working as a runner in a production house in Mexico City when he was given a book about Alfred Hitchcock and was inspired to take a course in filmmaking. Having cut his teeth on a couple of short films, he got a break making his feature debut, KM31, an atmospheric ghost story invoking the Mexican legend La llorona.

What’s he up to now? Castaneda’s in the UK promoting KM31, which, in the wake of smash box office business in Mexico and well received premieres at festivals including London Fright Fest in August, is about to receive its UK-wide release. The film’s domestic success provided Castaneda with his calling card to Hollywood, where he has completed his second feature, Blackout. That’s a chiller starring Brit Aidan Gillen and yank Amber Tamblyn in which three people find inconvenience turns into nightmare when they’re trapped in an elevator.

What he says about the legend of La llorona ‘La llorona, the Crying Woman, is a very old and very well known legend in Mexico. It’s the way grandmothers terrorise their grandchildren into going to bed: They say “La llorona is going to come for you if you don’t go to bed!” My grandmother told me about the story for the first time when I was six years old. I was traumatised. It’s in every Mexican, this trauma about the ghost. We never said our film was about this ghost, so it wasn’t until the end of the film that the Mexican audiences realised it was a story about La llorona. I think that was one reason that the film was so successful in Mexico. So, in a way you could say my grandmother was responsible for KM31.’

Interesting fact La llorona has appeared in at least five Mexican films since the 1930s. 1974’s La Venganza de la llorona (Vengeance of the Crying Woman) pitted the wailing spirit against El Santo, the legendary masked wrestler who himself appeared in upwards of 60 films until he died of a heart attack in 1984, exactly ten years after meeting La llorona.

KM31 is on selected release from Fri 7 Dec.


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