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Rodriguez's 'El Mariachi' marks 20th anniversary

Matthew Odam

With a pocketful of medical-testing money 20 years ago, Robert Rodriguez stood on the verge of a revolution in independent filmmaking. The University of Texas alumnus took a few thousand dollars and unlimited creativity down to Mexico and made "El Mariachi."

Last year the Library of Congress made the film a part of American movie history, preserving it as part of the National Film Registry on the grounds of the film's cultural, historical and aesthetic importance.

Thursday, AMD, the Austin Film Society and Rodriguez's nascent El Rey Network celebrate the film's 20th anniversary with a 35 mm screening of Rodriguez's feature debut at the Paramount Theatre.

The special "El Mariachi" screening will be preceded by the Texas filmmaker's early short film, "Ismael Jones and the Eyes of the Devil." After a post-screening Q-and-A, Rodriguez and his band will perform songs from a host of the director's movies while scenes play on the screen behind them. Tickets ($25-$100) can be purchased at . Proceeds from the event will benefit the Texas Filmmakers' Production Fund. 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 713 Congress Ave.