A documentary filmmaker and Los Angeles native, Rodriguez is driven by a desire to chronicle and translate the dramatic cultural changes occurring in the western United States. His previous documentary, the critically acclaimed Mixed Feelings: San Diego/Tijuana explores the landscape and architecture between the U.S./Mexican border. It aired several times during 2002 and 2003 and will continue to air in 2004 on PBS. The film uses animation of architectural models, aerial photography, split screen, digital music and other means to illustrate the cultural differences suggested by the built environments of the two cities.
Rodriguez's interest in how culture is constructed and brokered by and among elites led to the making of the documentary Manuel Ocampo: God is My Copilot. An examination of multi-culturalism as manifested in the contemporary art world, the film chronicles the rise and fall of a talented young Filipino American painter and his relationship to art dealers and collectors. Featuring Julian Schnabel, Dennis Hopper and Mary Boone, the film witnesses the many misunderstandings between an Asian American West Coast artist and the decidedly New York-centered art world. The film was celebrated at film festivals worldwide, including the AFI International Festival, Hawaii International Film Festival, the Biennale Internationale du Film sur l'Art at the Centre Georges Pomidou in Paris and the Havana Film Festival.
Another Rodriguez project, Pancho Villa and Other Stories, focused on the general exploits of General Pancho Villa and the oral histories of those involved in the revolutionary movement in Mexico. It won an award for Best Documentary at the 2000 San Antonio Cinefestival and was honored at the Smithsonian National Gallery.
Not limited to film, Rodriguez wrote the story and title song for the Grammy-nominated "Papa's Dream" by Los Lobos. He also founded, published, and edited Avance, a national Latino magazine of arts and culture as well as Esencia, a San Francisco Latino magazine of arts and culture. Rodriguez is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley and has an M.A. in Latin American studies and an M.F.A. in Film and Television from UCLA. He also studied art history and Spanish literature at Universidad Cumplutense de Madrid. He is currently a senior research fellow at the Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University.
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