Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez helped give birth to the "indie film" movement with his iconic 1992 film El Mariachi, which he shot on a budget of just $7,000. To help celebrate the 25th Anniversary of this indie classic, the filmmaker is going back to his roots to make a new $7,000 film, along with five new filmmakers as part of his upcoming TV series Rebel Without a Crew, which will air on his own El Rey Network. Not only do the filmmakers have to make their film on such a meager budget, but they must also do so literally without a crew.
Robert Rodriguez will join filmmakers Scarlet Moreno, Alejandro Montoya Marin, Bola Ogun, Bonnie-Kathleen Ryan, and Josh Stifter in this endeavor, which is designed to mentor and inspire a new wave of independent filmmakers. Rodriguez created his first feature-length film El Mariachi on a budget of just $7,000. To mark the 25th anniversary of the film, Rodriguez will invite these five amateur filmmakers to take on the same challenge. They will write, shoot and edit a brand-new feature length film with only $7,000. Go90 will stream the six-episode, one-hour series capturing the filmmakers' process as well as their final feature films. As the selected filmmakers work on their projects, Rodriguez also will write, shoot and edit a new feature film for $7,000. Here's what director Robert Rodriguez had to say about this initiative when it was first announced back in August.
"I wanted to re-create my El Mariachi experience with up and coming filmmakers to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the film's release. I think the young, tech-savvy go90 audience will appreciate and be inspired by the inside look at the ultra low-budget independent feature filmmaking process."
The title for the series is taken from the 1996 non-fiction book Robert Rodriguez wrote, recounting how, at just 23 years old, he took the filmmaking world by storm with his directorial debut feature El Mariachi. This series was announced in August as part of El Rey Network's new output deal with Verizon's go90 digital platform, although it isn't clear when this series may air on both go90 and El Rey quite yet. There also haven't been any details about this new film Robert Rodriguez himself will make, or if it will have any sort of connection to El Mariachi.
El Mariachi was shot over two weeks in the summer of 1991, and had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival in the fall of 1992, which lead to screenings at the Toronto International Film Festival and at Sundance in 1993, with the film released in U.S. theaters in late February 1993, earning just over $2 million from a $7,000 budget. It still holds a Guinness world record as the lowest-budgeted film to earn more than $1 million at the box office, and it was selected for preservation by the National Film Registry in 2011. Robert Rodriguez is currently attached to direct the Escape From New York remake and he is also slated to direct STX's Uglydolls movie as well. Visit IndieWire for more on this new Robert Rodriguez intitiative.