You may or may not know her name, but you surely know Lynn Fainchtein's work.
As a prolific music supervisor, and a radio host and MTV Latin America vet, she's a friend and frequent collaborator of some of Mexico's brightest filmmakers, including Oscar-nominated Alejandro González Iñárritu (Biutiful, Babel, Amores Perros, 21 Grams). It's Fainchtein whom actor-turned-director Diego Luna turns to for musical expertise. In fact, she is overseeing the music for Luna's next project, the biopic Chavez, starring Michael Peña as the iconic labor activist Cesar Chavez and arriving in theaters in 2013.
But Fainchtein's work transcends Mexico – Hollywood directors such as Lee Daniels often call on her to create beautiful and haunting soundscapes, as she did for 2009's Precious and his upcoming film The Butler. Next month, we'll be able to appreciate her work in Walter Salles' On The Road, starring Kristen Stewart and based on the Jack Kerouac novel of the same name.
Fainchtein was in Los Angeles this week to promote her latest project, which she also produced, Hecho En Mexico, an 88-minute documentary directed by Englishman Duncan Bridgeman (1 Giant Leap, What About Me?) and executive produced by Televisa's Emilio Azcárraga. It's a musical road trip through contemporary Mexico and an exploration of the richness and vastness of the culture through original songs, reflections, humor, and conversations with thinkers from all walks of life.
Diego Luna, the late Chavela Vargas, Lila Downs, Café Tacvba, Carla Morrison, Los Tucanes de Tijuana, Gloria Trevi, Molotov, Kinky, Alejandro Fernandez, and Julieta Venegas are just some of the familiar faces that pop up in the film, which opens Friday in select Los Angeles theaters.
I stole Fainchtein away for a few minutes and nerded out about her passion for Mexican music as manifested in the film (she is also the co-founder of Casete, which provides synching services of Latin American music for TV and films as well as a content agreggator for iTunes and other platforms.) It's amazing what you can learn about Mexico in a little over 10 minutes...
How many artists are in the movie?
It's hard to say. If we're counting every single person, I'd put it somewhere around 145. I know for sure we had 450 hours of footage to edit.
Can we talk about the Chavela Vargas interview specifically, in the chapter called "Alma"? It's so powerful, especially because she's no longer here.