‘I dig into the past for a glimpse of the present’

Award-winning Spanish screenwriter Monika Revilla in this exclusive interview with DT Next talks about the buzz surrounding her recently-released series Somos and challenging prejudices with her writing in the film Dance of the 41 and TV series Someone Has to Die.
Monika Revilla
Monika Revilla

Chennai

Over the last few weeks, the Spanish series Somos, set in the backdrop of the drug war in Mexico, and the movie Dance of the 41 have been trending in India on Netflix. Writer Monika Revilla says that although her screenplays are inspired by real-life incidents that take place in Mexico, people in other countries can relate to them.
“My stories have a universal appeal and anyone across the globe can relate to them even if they’re region-specific. For instance, the premise of Dance of the 41 is set in Mexico City over 100 years ago and focuses on a tale of forbidden love. Such ideas strike a chord with people from other countries as well because they are basically stories of human interest. Similarly, Somos features a cartel clash in the Mexican town of Allende, but the series revolves around family and friendship, which is a universal topic,” she says.
Dance of the 41 is set in the 1900s while the series Someone Has to Die takes place in the 1950s. Talking about her fascination for period dramas, she says, “Historical fiction lets us know where we stand today and where it all started. That is why I’m constantly looking for stories from the past that can still be relevant to today’s society and people. I rely a lot on the work of historians and read everything available on the subject and other fictional works that can be a reference point. It is important to build a world that really transports the viewer to the past. So minutiae is critical. I imagine myself as a puppeteer and create conversations I have never been privy to.” The Mexican screenwriter predominantly writes content that takes place in Mexico as well as Spain. 
Though her creations are a huge hit locally, Monika attributes her success to OTT platforms that have taken her stories to a larger audience. “I once wrote a series for a local Mexican TV channel and a few people watched it, but when the series was out on Netflix, I started getting feedback from people in New York who had liked it. Also, subtitles and dubbing in various languages have made foreign content much easier to consume,” she remarks.
Apart from being a screenwriter, Monika is also an executive producer. “Here, an executive producer handles creative aspects of a film or a series and is also involved in production and editing. As a writer, I ensure that the film or series remains faithful to the essence of the story. After all, nobody understands the intricacies of the story better than the writer,” Monika explains.
Talking about her upcoming projects, the screenwriter says that she is looking forward to expanding her horizons. “I am currently working on a couple of new stories which are again tales from the past. However, I would also be experimenting with write sci-fi and a comedy story in the future. The world needs some smile now,” she concludes.

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