2015 AFI Fest Gala
In The 33, Patricia Riggen directs Antonio Banderas and Lou Diamond Phillips to the performances of their careers. The actors play the leaders of thirty-three miners trapped deep beneath the earth.
After a hundred years of drilling, the mountain shifts violently. A piece of granite the size of the Empire State Building blocks the only way out (And you thought your spouse was stubborn). The men make it to an underground shelter. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the emergency supplies weren’t restocked in a while. Rescue attempt? The company runs the numbers and starts thinking about cutting their losses. The handsome young Minister of Mining, Laurence Golborne (Rodrigo Santoro), has his heart in the right place, but he’s a college boy with little practical experience. He tries to convince a skeptical President Piñera (Bob Gunton) that a rescue is good politics.
It would’ve ended there for the miners, but they have a secret weapon on the outside, Maria Segovia (Juliette Bioche) an unimposing woman known as the Empanada Lady. Sometime in the past, she abandoned her brother Dario (Juan Pabio Raba). She’s determined not to let that happen again. The journey from adversaries to allies of Minister Golborne and the firebrand Maria is a moving part of the story. It also provides a relief from the claustrophobic scenes underground, filmed in a Columbian salt mine.
The film reunites Riggen with the Peru born cinematographer Checco Varese, who also shot her feature film debut Under the Same Moon (2007).