Gabriela Rodriguez (‘Roma’ producer) on making Oscar history for such a ‘personal’ film [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

With “Roma,” Gabriela Rodriguez made Oscar history as the first Latina ever nominated for producing a Best Picture contender. It was especially satisfying given this was the first feature she had ever produced,” so I’m making history in my own right,” she jokes. To be recognized for “something that is so personal” to director Alfonso Cuaron “makes it even sweeter.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Rodriguez above.

SEE Eugenio Caballero Interview: ‘Roma’

Rodriguez got her start as Cuaron’s personal assistant. When they moved to London to shoot “Children of Men” (2006) the director decided to stay and relocated his production company, Esperanto, which Rodriguez ran for several years. So by the time she produced “Roma,” she knew so much about the filmmaker that she “could probably have earned a PhD on Alfonso Cuaron. All of these different roles had given me insight into how he works, not only as a director, but also personally.”

This knowledge served her well because “when you’re in such a demanding situation like any film shoot, there’s always that tension and that stress and that urgency.” In this case, Cuaron was both the director and cinematographer, which are “key, important, very demanding positions to have.” So the responsibilities of production fell largely on Rodriguez and fellow producer Nicolas Celis. “We would only go to him when it was critical that we needed his production input,” she explains. Otherwise, she worked to give him “the tools” he needed to fulfill his vision.

Rodriguez and Cuaron recently won BAFTA and Critics’ Choice Awards for Best Picture and Best Foreign Language Film. Their Oscar bid for Best Picture is one of 10 “Roma” received overall, including Best Director, Best Actress (Yalitza Aparicio), Best Supporting Actress (Marina de Tavira), and Best Original Screenplay. Cuaron has additionally received Golden Globe, DGA, BAFTA, and Critics’ Choice victories for directing.

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