Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez infamously made his first feature, the lauded 1992 indie “El Mariachi,” for the paltry sum of just $7,000. Even twenty-five years ago, that was hardly the kind of budget filmmakers dreamed about, but Rodriguez managed to turn limited money into a signature feature that helped launch his career. And now he wants to do the same for other rising stars — with a big twist.
On the upcoming unscripted series “Rebel Without a Crew,” producer Rodriguez will challenge five filmmakers — including Scarlet Moreno, Alejandro Montoya Marin, Bola Ogun, Bonnie-Kathleen Ryan, and Josh Stifter — to make their own films for just $7,000, with zero crew to be found. It’s a wild enough idea, but one that comes with a real kicker: per a new press release, Rodriguez himself will participate in the challenge and also make a new film for just $7,000.
Rodriguez and his filmmakers will have just two weeks to shoot their new features, and Rodriguez is apparently still eager to see if he’s got what it takes to make it work. The finished series will air on Verizon Media’s go90 (their “premium mobile entertainment destination”) and the Rodriguez-led El Rey Network.
Rodriguez’s debut film holds plenty of big honors, including Guinness World Records recognition as the lowest-budgeted film ever to gross $1M at the box office. (It went on to make $2M.) In 2011, “El Mariachi” was inducted into the Library of Congress to be preserved as part of its National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”