San Antonio’s Own Film Maker

Robert Rodriguez is a hometown boy, native to our great city of San Antonio, Texas. Born and raised in the 210, he is a graduate of St. Anthony Catholic High School where his interest in film making was born. After high school he went on to The University of Texas at Austin where, ironically, he was not accepted into the school’s film program. Undeterred, he created a comic in the student newspaper which ran for three years and in 1990, he entered a local film contest finally earning him a spot in the film program. In 1991, he shot a 16mm short titled “Bedhead” and the buzz was strong enough to encourage him to film 1992’s “El Mariachi”. His directorial debut earned him a nod at 1993’s Sundance Film Festival and currently holds The Guinness World Record for the lowest budget movie ever to gross over 1 million dollars.

I was first introduced to Rodriguez’s work with the 1995 release of “Desperado”. I was only 10 years old but I absolutely fell in love with the movie. Antonio Banderas’ collaboration with Los Lobos on the film’s opening song, “El Cancion Del Mariachi”, caught my attention. I watched the movie because I heard the song and was hooked. In fact, this movie birthed my love for mariachi music but that’s a tale for another blog. “Desperado” is actually the 2nd part in what is known as the “El Mariachi Trilogy” which was finalized with 2003’s “Once Upon a Time in Mexico”. The following year, 1996, Rodriguez collaborated with Hollywood legend Quentin Tarantino and “From Dusk till Dawn” was released. I probably had no business watching this film at the age of 11 but nonetheless, I was OBSESSED. Salma Hayek’s iconic striptease to the Tito And Tarantula classic “After Dark” was forever ingrained in my mind. I’ve followed his work over the years and as a result, I am a huge fan of Danny Trejo who has been a frequent collaborator with Rodriguez. In researching for this post, I discovered that Trejo is actually Rodriguez’s second cousin. Trejo made his first appearance in “Desperado” but my favorite role is Trejo’s “Machete” which was released in 2010. Originally the film was a trailer created as a joke and the result of too much tequila on Cinco de Mayo, according to Rodriguez.

I appreciate so much the fact that Rodriguez is from San Antonio. Growing up, I heard plenty of negativity surrounding the Hispanic race. Rodriguez disproves that negativity and he certainly makes us proud. His work has developed a cult following and he represents the Hispanic cultura in the Hollywood movie machine very well. His past accolades include ASCAP awards in 2003, 2004, and 2006, several ALMA award nominations, and a 2005 Caanes Film Festival award for his work on “Sin City”. Not too shabby for a home town boy.

Thanks for reading!

Con mucho carino,

Melissa

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