Rodriguez debuted with the short film Bedhead and then went on to shoot the action flick El Mariachi in Spanish, inspired by John Woo films. El Mariachi, which was shot for around $7,000 with money partially raised by volunteering in medical research studies, won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 1992, and the film, originally intended for the Spanish-language low-budget home-video market, was distributed by Columbia Pictures. Rodriguez described his experiences making the film in his book Rebel Without a Crew, which inspired legions of hopeful filmmakers, arguably only a fraction of whom were as talented as Rodriguez, to pick up cameras and make no-budget movies.
His next film was Desperado, a sequel to El mariachi starring Antonio Banderas. The film introduced Salma Hayek to American audiences. He collaborated with Quentin Tarantino on the vampire comedy From Dusk Till Dawn and with Kevin Williamson on the teen horror sci-fi flick The Faculty.
In 2001, Rodriguez enjoyed his first $100-million Hollywood hit with Spy Kids, which went on to become a trilogy. A third "mariachi" film also appeared in late 2003, Once Upon a Time in Mexico. He operates a production company called Troublemaker Studios, formerly Los Hooligans Productions, after Los Hooligans, a comic strip he wrote and drew at UT.
Filmography: Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003) Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003) Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams (2002) Spy Kids (2001) The Faculty (1998) From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) Four Rooms (1995) Desperado (1995) El Mariachi (1992)