For independent moviemakers there is perhaps no better example of creativity and ingenuity than the $7,000 man, Robert Rodriguez. The San Antonio native began his meritorious career back in 1991 when he and high school chum Carlos Gallardo completed a feature-length action movie in a small Mexican border town. Rodriguez famously sold his body to science to raise funds and acted as the movie’s director, cinematographer, camera operator, lighting technician, editor and every other conceivable member of the production crew. He was the new golden boy of independent cinema once El Mariachi and the story behind it became talk show and festival circuit fodder.

The moviemaker’s path took a few unexpected turns beginning with the 1992 Toronto Film Festival, where both the El Mariachi media frenzy and a friendship with Quentin Tarantino began. From that first feature grew the high-budget, celebrity-strewn sequels Desperado and Once Upon a Time in Mexico, with Rodriguez still pulling the weight of multiple crewmembers. Together with Tarantino, Rodriguez has completed five films. Dimension Films will release their latest collaboration, Grindhouse, on April 6, 2007.

As two movies on one bill, Grindhouse references those theaters of old that screened back-to-back explicit and taboo exploitation movies. Rodriguez’s segment, “Planet Terror,” features Rose McGowan and Freddy Rodriguez as a scarred couple out for revenge. Making sure he still has a hand in everything, this gritty thriller is produced, edited and scored by the famed moviemaker himself.

Sound Off:
Robert Rodriguez raised money for his first feature film by becoming a lab rat. What is the furthest you have gone to complete a film? Let us know in the Comments section!

–Mallory Potosky