Jennifer Lopez swaps her 'A'-list celebrity for social activism in a new film about the plight of Mexican women working in factories near the U.S. border who are raped and murdered.

Jennifer Lopez swaps her 'A'-list celebrity for social activism in a new film about the plight of Mexican women working in factories near the U.S. border who are raped and murdered.

"Bordertown," which reunites the singer with director Gregory Nava, is based on real events and was made to draw attention to what the film's makers say are deliberate attempts by authorities and companies to cover up the crimes.

In the film, which had its world premiere today (Feb. 15) at the Berlin film festival, Lopez plays an ambitious reporter from Chicago who travels to Mexico on an assignment she hopes will get her a cherished overseas posting at her newspaper.

At first cynical and self-serving, her character becomes increasingly concerned by the disappearance of hundreds of women whose graves are unearthed with alarming regularity, while the task of uncovering the truth becomes more and more dangerous.

Antonio Banderas plays a campaigning journalist in the city of Juarez, where the action is set, while Mexico's Maya Zapata is Eva, the girl who is hunted after she survives a brutal attack and can identify her assailants.

"When they came to me with the project, I immediately became very passionate about it and said that I would do it and I would help them get it made," Lopez told reporters after a press screening. "What I thought (when I read the script) was, I couldn't believe it. I really couldn't believe this was going on. And then the more I found out about it the more real it became to me."

Lopez worked with Nava 10 years ago on "Selena." Nava said he could not have raised the money to make the film without Lopez's involvement. She is also a producer.

While critical reaction to the thriller may be cool, judging by the boos after its press screening in Berlin, Nava will be hoping Lopez's name will bolster the box office. "It was a very, very tough journey to get this movie made, and I have to thank ... Jennifer, because if Jennifer had not gotten involved ... it would never have been made," Nava said.


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