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ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO

ROBERT RODRIGUEZ (Director, Writer, Producer, Director of Photography, Production Designer, Editor, Visual Effects Supervisor, Re-Recording Mixer, Composer) While a student at the University of Texas at Austin in 1991, Rodriguez wrote the script to his first feature film while sequestered at a drug research facility as a paid subject in a clinical experiment. That paycheck covered the cost of shooting his film. He planned to make the money back by selling the film to the Mexican home video market.

The film was El Mariachi (1993), which Rodriguez wrote, directed, photographed, edited and sound-recorded – for $7,000. While shopping it to the video market, Rodriguez signed with a powerful agent at ICM. Columbia Pictures then bought the rights and signed Rodriguez to a two-year writing and directing deal. El Mariachi went on to win the coveted Audience Award for best dramatic film at the Sundance Film Festival, and was honored at the Berlin, Munich, Edinburgh, Deauville and Yubari (Japan) festivals. El Mariachi became the lowest budgeted movie ever released by a major studio and the first American film released in Spanish. Rodriguez wrote about these experiences in Rebel Without a Crew, published by Dutton Press.

Although it was an astonishing debut for a 23-year-old, Rodriguez was already a seasoned filmmaker. The third of ten children born to Cecilio and Rebecca Rodriguez in San Antonio, Texas, he had prepared for film production classes at the University of Texas by making a series of his own home movies. Family members were recruited as cast and crew. His three youngest siblings starred in Bedhead (1991), a 16 mm short film that was honored at many national and international festivals. Rodriguez also blossomed as a cartoonist at the University of Texas with "Los Hooligans," a comic strip in the Daily Texan featuring characters based on his brothers and sisters.

Rodriguez went on to write, produce, direct and edit Desperado (1995), a sequel to El Mariachi, for Columbia Pictures. The film introduced American audiences to Salma Hayek and Antonio Banderas as a leading man. In 1995, Rodriguez also wrote, directed and edited The Misbehavers, again starring Antonio Banderas, which is one of the four segments of Four Rooms. He then teamed up with Quentin Tarantino on the outrageous From Dusk Till Dawn. Rodriguez directed a cast including Tarantino, who wrote the script. He also edited the film and served as executive producer. Rodriguez's next directorial project was The Faculty (1998) starring Josh Hartnett, Elijah Wood and Jordana Brewster.

In 2001, Robert fulfilled a lifelong dream and created the family adventure film. Spy Kids, which was critically acclaimed and a box office success, grossing more than $100 million domestically. He followed that with Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams, which won rave reviews and Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over, which was also a huge box office hit.

Rodriguez and his wife, producer Elizabeth Avellán, make their home in Austin, Texas where they live with their three sons. A fourth child is on the way.

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