Tanya Saracho Interview: ‘Vida’ showrunner
“I was a mess,” admits “Vida” showrunner Tanya Saracho when talking about the emotional final day of shooting. The Starz series wrapped up its three season run this year, and as production on the finale came to a close, she “had already started missing” the many artists who brought her vision to life. The TV veteran took viewers behind the scenes of her extremely personal show while appearing at Gold Derby’s Meet the Experts panel, conducted virtually by managing editor Chris Beachum. Watch our exclusive video with Saracho above.
Set in an increasingly gentrified Los Angeles neighborhood, “Vida” centers on sisters Lyn (Melissa Barrera) and Emma (Mishel Prada), who reunite after years apart following the death of their mother. From the beginning, Saracho had “an image” of how she wanted the show to end, which involved the estranged siblings coming together at last. “I just didn’t know how I was going to earn it.” She figured out a way over the course of the last six episodes, and ultimately writing and directing the finale “was a very fulfilling experience,” not least of all because “the thing you had imagined” was put onscreen.
Throughout “Vida’s” three seasons, Saracho has never shied away from touching upon controversial subjects, including sexuality, politics and the way Latinx people are treated in America. “I wanted to create something that was true to life,” she explains, “and when I was allowed to have an all Latinx writer’s room… we were never going to be anything but authentic and truthful.” She adds, “a lot of us have skin in the game” when it comes to “the themes that we cover,” and that’s especially true of Saracho, who worried that criticism of President Donald Trump could hurt her because “I’m not a citizen.” Yet the valor of the writers “let me be brave.”
Saracho has also been a producer for “How to Get Away with Murder” and “Looking.” She is a well-known playwright who has also been a writer for “Girls” and “Devious Maids.”