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Rebel Without a Crew

Joe Gross

25 years ago, Robert Rodriguez created his first feature-length film, El Mariachi. Armed with a budget of just $7,000.00 and no crew, Rodriguez created an award-winning film that changed independent filmmaking. To mark the 25th anniversary of “El Mariachi,” Robert Rodriguez is seeing if he still has what it takes to make a film for $7,000 and has invited five up-and-coming filmmakers to come to Austin, Texas and take on the same challenge. “Rebel Without a Crew” follows these filmmakers as they rise to the occasion of shooting a brand-new feature length film in two-weeks with only $7,000. Inspired by Robert Rodriguez’s wildly popular book “Rebel Without a Crew” is designed to mentor and inspire a new wave of independent filmmakers.

The five films will make their world premiere at a private screening hosted by El Rey Network and go90 at the Violet Crown Cinemas on March 12th. The series and the films will debut on go90 in 2018 followed by airings on El Rey Network.

Left to Right: Bola Ogun, Scarlet Moreno, Alejandro Montoya Marin,

Robert Rodriguez, Bonnie-Kathleen Ryan and Josh Stifter

at Troublemaker Studios in Austin, TX

that the last episode of the series is being shot during SXSW on Monday, 3/12 at our event, and talking with Robert about the show should be positioned in that way ie the last episode is happening during SXSW, let me know if this makes sense and you have any questions. 

Biggest change

When I started the idcea of the network what programming we could have new talent anyway give people diverse voices who don’t usually get a shot have a training ground dusk till dawn shot they don’t normally get rebel without a crew contest $7,000 to make a feature make it like a film school 14 days do what I did learn how to make an entire movie by yourself

See what the difference 

Money goes a lot further today

It was a blast forgotten how much fun it is the ideas that you come up with the movie benefits 

All just theory within days of starting take on so much trial by fire like that completely different what is impossible and what is not a fun experience

Taken by the whole experience making parameters fiugure it out how you do anythingf how you make a series you just have to start figure stuff out as it goes learn and relearn just a blast so many submissions within the first 2,000 submissions wanted to be a part of it more peple to get the opp

$7,000 and editing a big chunkc lighting and sound one person that is the dep or friend actors working that day help out lean and mean have money for getting your location music you want $7,000 stem to stern

At the end of Mariachi finished tape of the movie has picture you could watch my criteria

Most of my monety went to buying film and developing film production values was really impressive really ambitious nobody was doing my dinner 

The post of it I was just doing post I had several other things going on 

When I was 23 I had no money but I have money but I don’t have I didn’t have 14 days so I would have to shoot three hours there two hours there I think it makes it better you have to surprised by the results I’ll shoot a full feature that way since Mariachi

If you know where to Troublemaker main thing that kjind of thinking making short films DP they still have crew be their entire crew to know all those jobs suddenly very experienced it’s very empowering so when you do go work with other people it empowers you if I write something tomorrow a very empowering feeling to have by the end of the shoot

The challenge seemed insurmountable 

It was script hand 90 pages 75-80 pages . . . 

Short colul,d htg first featue experience on mariacho

Script, featur,e have a 

Gotcha parameters….

12 30 min episodes pre production, cycle at SXSW…..

A kabillion dollars…. 

El Ray on no offical airdate close tyo fourht 

Scarlet Moreno 28

Laredo, TX / Los Angeles, CA 

Instagram: @Scarletinni


A Laredo, TX native, Scarlet Moreno is a bilingual actress, writer and director.

After graduating from TISCH School of the Arts at NYU where she double-majored in Drama and Journalism, Moreno moved to Los Angeles to pursue her dreams.

Since then, she has written and directed short films and music videos that have premiered at festivals, such as the Austin Sci-Fi Film Festival, Cleveland International Film Festival, Nine Worlds London Sci-Fi and Fantasy Film Festival, Other Worlds, NYC Chain Film Festival, Portland Film Festival and Toronto International Short Film Festival.

Moreno’s first short film, Viv 1.0 or They Must Have Forgotten, won the Geek Feminism Award at Nine Worlds London in 2014 and was nominated for the Other Worlds Austin Sci-Fi Film Festival’s Mary Shelley Award in 2015.

Film Title: Phaedra

Film Synopsis:

In the spring of 1975, at the height of disco, a peculiar young woman with a passion for night-life and a hunger for stardom has an odd obsession with a doll collection she inherited from her mentally unstable mother. Upon meeting a man who she believes is a film producer, but is in reality a mid-level drug dealer with dreams as big as hers are, she is swept up in a psychological nightmare of cocaine, delusion, and disco.

Josh Stifter 32

Crystal, MN 

Instagram: @flushstudios

Twitter: @joshstifter




Josh Stifter started movie making during his time in high school, often spending his time animating and shooting footage or making music videos for class projects.

After graduating, he learned how to animate while attending community college. Eventually, Stifter attended an art college and graduated on the Dean's List. Soon after, he got into his true passion—2-D animation.

Several years later, he began animating for Kevin Smith's podcast, making two minute cartoons from scratch—all while holding down a full-time job.

After this, he began to work at a Christian media company, moving up to become an animation director after the first year. Through this, he was able to work on one of the bigger projects and won multiple awards for the work.

Since then, Stifter has continued making fun animation and short films whenever he can, even letting his son direct him while he films and working on

animated series to pitch with friends.

Film Title: The Good Exorcist

Film Synopsis:

A young, socially awkward priest attempts to exorcise the demons from a ranch dedicated to relaxation. The owners of the B&B, a middle aged husband and wife and their strange son, have no idea how or why the demons got there. After a few failed attempts to get the demons out, they call on Father Gil, who claims to be the best in the business of exorcising.

Alejandro Montoya Marin, 35

Albuquerque, NM

Instagram: @alejandromontoyamarin




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.

Bola Ogun, 31

Dallas, TX

Twitter: @onebolafun

Instagram: @onebolafun


Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Bola Ogun is a first-generation Nigerian-American and a former student of University of North Texas. She is an alumni of the AFI Directing Workshop for Women and the inaugural 2016 class for the Ryan Murphy’s Television HALF Mentorship Program.

Ogun has previously produced the Emmy campaign music video for CW’s “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” and has a decade of production experience on notable projects such as The Dark Knight Rises, Neighbors, Battleship, “True Detective,” and “Friday Night Lights.” She has also shadowed directors Brad Falchuk, Michael Lehman and Rose Lee on projects like “Scream Queens”, “The Brink” and “Faking It”.

Her first short film The Water Phoenix received a California Institute of Contemporary Art Grant, premiered at LA Shorts Fest and screened at Sunscreen Film Festival and Citizen Jane Film Festival. Following her success, Ogun’s second short Are We Good Parents stars Rent’s, and Deathproof’s Tracie Thoms and “Once Upon a Time’s” Sean Maguire.

Film Title: On the Run

Film Synopsis:

Small town widow, Leeya prefers her isolation as she deals with guilt from her past. Desperately looking for a way back into the CIA, a former operative becomes suspicious of her origin, while intergalactic bounty hunters land on Earth to capture her. In order to escape, she must find a way off the planet and out of self-condemnation.

Bonnie Kathleen "BK" Ryan, 29 

Columbia, SC / Los Angeles, CA

Instagram: @bonniekathleenryan



Bonnie-Kathleen Ryan is an award winning Los Angeles based filmmaker and virtual reality producer.

Ryan's short film, Three Legged Dog, was a 2017 official selection of The Atlanta Underground Film Festival and the Women's Only Entertainment Film Festival. The film took home "Best Dark Comedy Short 2017" at the Atlanta Underground Film Festival.

Ryan honed her directing skills shadowing director/producer Scott Winant on HBO's “True Blood” Season 7 and director Jet Wilkinson on the second season of Netflix "Jessica Jones."

In addition to directing, Ms. Ryan's feature proposal Firewatch was a 2015 Sundance Sloan Commissioning Grant Semi Finalist.

Ryan began her creative career when she attended Boston University’s College of Fine Arts and the Moscow Art Theatre School in Russia. She worked at The American Repertory Theatre before starting a career in Hollywood. She then went on to work as an actor appearing on television series “Murder in the First”, “House M.D.”, “Save Me”, along with many independent films including Bella Vista, Volcano Girl, and ITVS Future States.

Film Title: Grandma’s House

Film Synopsis:

When Julie Grayson (Rachelle Dimaria) arrives in Austin to start grad school and a new life, she’s shocked to discover that her student housing has fallen through.

Desperate for a place to live, she rents a room with a sweet but eccentric, elderly widow (Kathy Center) who likes to be called, ‘Grandma.’ At first, Julie reads the woman’s over-attentiveness and old-fashioned rules as symptoms of the generation gap. But when Grandma’s behavior becomes increasingly unhinged, Julie finds herself at the mercy of a landlady with a dark and dangerous plan for her.