By Liz Lopez
Robert Rodriguez made his first feature-length film, “El Mariachi” 25 years ago, armed with a budget of just $7,000 and 14 days to shoot his movie. Rodriguez created an award-winning film that changed independent filmmaking. He was able to make “El Mariachi” within those constraints because he wrote, shot, directed, produced and edited his film himself.
To mark the 25th anniversary of “El Mariachi,” Rodriguez invited five aspiring filmmakers to Austin, Texas to take on the same challenge. The twelve-part “Rebel Without a Crew: The Series” follows filmmakers Scarlet Moreno, Alejandro Montoya Marin, Bola Ogun, Josh Stifter, and Bonnie-Kathleen “BK” Ryan as they attempt to shoot their own feature length film with similar resources to what Rodriguez had when he made “El Mariachi” – a $7,000 budget, 14 shoot days and one dedicated crew member to help. The aspiring filmmakers also had Rodriguez and some of his trusted collaborators to offer guidance along the way.
After the five films were shot, each filmmaker returned home to edit their films. The five films made their World Premiere at a private screening hosted by El Rey Network and go90 at the Violet Crown Cinema in Austin, Texas on March 12th. The series will debut on go90 and Tumblr on March 19th followed by airings on El Rey Network.
Alejandro Montoya Marin, 35, Albuquerque, NM
“The challenging circumstances are certainly intimidating, but this is a huge opportunity for me to get my work seen, and I’m honored to represent the New Mexico independent film community.”
Born in Laredo, TX and raised in Monterrey, MX, Alejandro Montoya Marin is a first-generation American filmmaker and production manager.
After studying marketing in Mexico, Montoya moved to Canada to study film production at Vancouver Film School, specializing in directing. He then went on to live in Albuquerque, and has since produced work, such a s music videos, commercials and short films. His films have screened in numerous film festivals including Raindance Film Festival, The Napa Valley Film Festival, Hollyshorts Film Festival, Soho Film Festival and more.
Currently, Montoya divides his time between Los Angeles and Albuquerque where he works as a production manager for a local Spanish language TV station all while creating short films and developing two feature films.
Film Title: “Monday”
Film Synopsis: Jim has just lost his job and his girlfriend… and his day is about to get even worse.
“Monday” is an action-comedy that follows Jim, an unemployed stoner, on the worst day of his life. As he tries to put his life back together, Jim soon finds himself involved with two assassins and the war between rival crime families. With his best friend in tow, Jim must figure out how to survive the worst Monday ever, save his relationships, and try to become an actual grown-up.
“Monday,” a music driven film, embodies the 80’s action-comedy spirit and attempts to put a new spin on the genre.
Here is some additional information about the other filmmakers in “Rebel Without a Crew: The Series” with statements as they approached the challenge of making this feature film:
Scarlet Moreno – Originally from Laredo, Texas and currently lives in Los Angeles.
“Creating a feature film with $7000 and pure grit will be a challenge I am more than happy to take to make my filmmaking dreams come true.”
Bola Ogun – Originally from Lagos, Nigeria and currently lives in Los Angeles.
“This opportunity will provide me with hands on experience in roles I have never taken on before. This can only make me a better filmmaker and will allow me to take my films to a whole new level.”
Josh Stifter – From Crystal, Minnesota
“I’ve spent years making fun, short films on the weekend. This opportunity is giving me the time and push to finally make something with more substance, character and story than I’ve ever had before.”
Bonnie-Kathleen (BK) Ryan – Originally from Columbia, SC and currently lives in Los Angeles.
“I’m undertaking this challenge because it’s allowing me to make my first feature film. Although it’s daunting to be documented while I shoot, I see it as an opportunity to represent women as leaders on a set and that is something we all need to see more of.“
Source: El Rey Network