Robert Rodriguez

After bursting onto the filmmaking scene with his $7,000 action film, "El Mariachi" (1993), director Robert Rodriguez was second only to friend and frequent collaborator Quentin Tarantino in terms of originality and the ability to make the films he wanted. A jack of all trades, Rodriguez frequently directed, photographed, produced, wrote, scored and edited all his films regardless of budget, mostly to the benefit of the film, but sometimes to the detriment of an otherwise collaborative art. Rodriguez followed up "El Mariachi" with "Desperado" (1995) and later rounded out his so-called Mexican Trilogy with "Once Upon a Time in Mexico" (2003). In between, he made the horror-crime thriller "From Dusk Till Dawn" (1996) and the sci-fi thriller "The Faculty" (1998), before scoring an international box office hit with "Spy Kids" (2001), which sparked a franchise of sequels over the next decade. Meanwhile, Rodriguez co-directed the well-received "Sin City" (2005) with comic book impresario Frank Miller and directed the "Planet Terror" segment of the exploitation double feature, "Grindhouse" (2007), which also contained Tarantino's "Death Proof" feature. Rodriguez continued to employ his unique brand of economic filmmaking to every project.