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Local filmmakers explore family and forgiveness in “Gringa”

Steve Zahn (left) and Jess Gabor play estranged-then-reunited father and daughter in "Gringa" a new movie by filmmakers with Roaring Fork Valley ties.
Courtesy of Momentum Films
Steve Zahn (left) and Jess Gabor play estranged-then-reunited father and daughter in "Gringa" a new movie by filmmakers with Roaring Fork Valley ties. "Gringa" screens at the Wheeler Opera House on Dec. 27.

The filmmakers of “Aspen Extreme” have produced a new indie movie about family and forgiveness, though this time, they filmed in a much warmer location and tied the story to soccer rather than skiing.

“Aspen Extreme” writer and director Patrick Hasburgh and longtime local action director E.J. Foerster teamed up with Snowmass Village local Marny Eng to produce “Gringa,” which screens at the Wheeler Opera House on Tuesday night.

The film follows a young woman who goes to Mexico to find the father she’s never known. Hasburgh, who now lives in Sayulita, wrote the script.

Foerster, who co-directed “Gringa” with his partner Eng, said this is a joyful film, centered around “participating in your own rescue” by asking for help while also taking accountability for your own growth.

The screening at the Wheeler is also a fundraiser for the Jake Foerster/Jazz Aspen Snowmass Music Arts Fund which honors the life of E.J. and Marny’s late son Jake by providing scholarships and mentorship for local students who are passionate about music and sound.

“Part of what we tried to really reach here is that there's a lot of healing, forgiveness, and participating in your own rescue when things are not right,” Foerster said.

Stadium Entrance.jpeg
Courtesy of Momentum Films
Crews film a scene for "Gringa," a new movie set in Mexico from filmmakers E.J. Foerster, Marny Eng and Patrick Hasburgh. Foerster and Hasburgh also collaborated on the 1993 film "Aspen Extreme."

Foerster said “Gringa” is focused on universal experiences. The film includes dialogue in both Spanish and English, without subtitles for either language — the idea being that strong performances and shared experiences will allow everyone to understand the essence of the moment whether or not they speak the language.

“We're all, fundamentally, all human, we deal with the same issues across the board,” he said. “And that really became something that was important for us that there were no walls built in this movie.”

According to Eng, authenticity and honesty were important tenets of the film. “Gringa” is also about “second chances” and resilience, she said.

“It's just about the human spirit and how strong we can be, and how we can overcome things that may feel like you're drowning, or getting buried in quicksand and you can't get out of it,” Eng said. “And it's just about believing in yourself, and believing in the people around you and having that support.”


Kaya Williams is the Edlis Neeson Arts and Culture Reporter at Aspen Public Radio, covering the vibrant creative and cultural scene in Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley. She studied journalism and history at Boston University, where she also worked for WBUR, WGBH, The Boston Globe and her beloved college newspaper, The Daily Free Press. Williams joins the team after a stint at The Aspen Times, where she reported on Snowmass Village, education, mental health, food, the ski industry, arts and culture and other general assignment stories.