Eva Aridjis ’96, inset, and a scene from "La Santa Muerte", her documentary about a religious figure of death.
Eva Aridjis ’96, inset, and a scene from "La Santa Muerte", her documentary about a religious figure of death.
Photos courtesy Eva Aridjis '96

Independent filmmaker Eva Aridjis ’96, described by New York Newsday as “an honest and nuanced filmmaker,” recently released two projects. La Santa Muerte (Saint Death), a documentary about Mexican followers of a female grim reaper, is due to be released on DVD Oct. 14 after premiering at the Los Angeles Film Festival last year. Aridjis’ first feature film,The Favor, the story of a troubled, orphaned teenager and the man who adopts him, premiered in May in theaters and on the Sundance Channel, where it will air periodically for two years. The film will be out on DVD sometime this year. 

“Saint Death,” who was not a real person but a religious figure of death, is considered a saint by her followers — many of whom are criminals, gang members, prostitutes, transvestites, and drug addicts — and satanic by the Catholic Church, says Aridijis, who grew up in Mexico City and majored in comparative literature at Princeton. She first encountered cult members when filming a documentary about four street kids living in Mexico City, Children of the Street.

Of her small but growing body of work, Aridjis says she likes to examine “misfits”: “I’m interested in exploring characters or real people or subcultures or phenomena that are under the radar.”