Robert Rodriguez was part of the panel during the Austin Film Festival 2013 (director and producer of Desperados, El Mariachi, From Dusk Till Dawn, Sin City, Spy Kids, and Machete) with Roberto Orci (creator of the Fringe, writer of Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, and Transformers). The panel was moderated by Alvaro Rodriguez. Robert Rodriguez and Roberto Orci discussed about The Network “El Rey” and its origin, vision, expansion, distribution, and future. Robert Rodriguez owns and operates the cable network that will host their upcoming original scripted series. The Network “El Rey” will be an English language television network directed specially to the Hispanic community’s second and third generation, and host a place for this minority who didn’t have a place to go in the television mainstream to watch films like Sin City, Spy Kids or Desperados. Robert Rodriguez will be a pioneer in this genre by targeting the Latino English community in the United States who is the fastest growing population.
Robert Rodriguez had a large and enthusiastic audience during his panel at AFF. The audience was in suspense to find out all about the new TV Network” El Rey” in Austin, TX. He said that Univision Network became very interested in the idea and invested in the English network because their network is in Spanish and not in English. He said,” It’s like when Disney bought Miramax for example, they will able to make material that they weren’t able to make and bring more business and distribution.” The network will have viewers in 40 million homes starting in December 2013. The network will be able to feature: miniseries, pilots, sitcom, movies, documentaries, interviews, animations and more.
The inception and vision of the network “El Rey” is to create innovation in television. Robert Rodriguez emphatically pointed out that everyone wants to get through the same door and there is a lot of competition. If you want to be successful in the film industry or television there is always a way to break through, and you need to break the pattern and if you find the door that say Do Not Enter, but you go that way anyway, and if that starts working for you, it’s your fate; you can always find a different way where no one else is competing. Robert Rodriguez found his success just going through a different direction or how he calls it “outside the box.”
When Robert Rodriguez started doing El Mariachi and Desperado with his personal vision for Columbia Picture Corporation, he realized and was shocked by the fact that Hollywood didn’t have any Latin working actors 20 years ago. Rodriguez was inspired by his own personal story and playing his role as writer in the Hollywood market he wanted to write about his own material or own persona as Hispanic second generation, but in the 90’s nobody was hiring Hispanic actors in Hollywood. Robert Rodriguez started building his own movie star system by casting Hispanic and Spanish actors who already had a platform in their acting careers in their countries such as Salma Hayek, Danny Trejo, and Antonio Banderas. We heard for the first time different English Hispanic accents in films. It was very refreshing!
When Robert Rodriguez initially created El Mariachi he didn’t make it with the idea to sell it to Columbia Pictures, for him it was like an impossible dream or fantasy. He thought more about home videos in the Mexican market, but the movie went into Columbia Pictures, and by accident the miracles happen!
The creation of the Network “El Rey” opened the door to a rainbow of variety of multicultural experimental programs directed in a way that the audience will decide the rating. “ El Rey” has been created to give the producers, actors, crew, writers and filmmakers a chance and new opportunities in the business of television where some minorities had been left out or have felt the lack of presence of their voice.
“El Rey” was among the minority-owned networks that landed a carriage deal with Comcast Corp, as part of the FCC’s conditions for approving the 2011 buyout of NBC Universal. Rodriguez and his partners in Factory Made Ventures also have corporate backing from Univision, which owns a minority stake in “El Rey”. Rodriguez always has envisioned himself in television and one of his motivations was his five children. He said that there is nothing in television that represents his children, since they live with Hispanic culture (half Venezuelan) and talk some Spanish, but mainly they converse in English. Rodriguez had the revelation of creating this network to find a place for this new generation who weren’t represented.
Alvaro Rodriguez, moderator and Robert Rodriguez’s cousin mentioned that we have a demographic of Latinos who are increasing in numbers, and don’t speak Spanish, but love the culture, style, music, films and sports. “El Rey” is a 24/7 English Language Network, featuring original dramas, feature films, cult and genre classics, and sports, and is set to launch in December.
Time Warner and Comcast are expected to carry the network. Robert Rodriguez was very humorous during the panel and said that, “El Rey” won’t have any executives and he actually will be in charge.” He also said, “You won’t have many executives like in other networks where everybody has an opinion.” It means that if you present your project to “El Rey” and they like what you bring to the table, they will give you a chance to broadcast it to the other side where the audience will decide if they like it or not. This is a very interesting process!
The first show that is currently shooting in Austin is the TV series “Dusk Till Dawn: The Series”. Part of the cast in key roles includes Madison Davenport, Brandon Soo Hoo, Robert Patrick, and Eiza Gonzalez. The Series is an adaptation of the Austin director’s movie that starred George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino and will be the first original scripted program to air on Rodriguez “El Rey” Network. The series has a variety of Hispanic actors. It’s specially designed for the Hispanic community to be identified in television and they could say “We finally are in television, we finally have a voice.”
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