One of the central topics of discussion was El Rey, the national cable channel that Rodriguez will unleash in 2014 with help from Comcast. He has been traveling the country to promote the in-the-works outlet, which is designed to give Latino filmmakers a much needed public airwaves boost. From the Austin360.com report:
Latinos will make up a third of the U.S. population by 2050, according to census estimates, yet, Rodriguez, joked, there was a dog channel before there was one like El Rey…
Rodriguez said the cable channel will be cutting-edge, underground and imbued by an indie sensibility. He has already had multiple conversations with Hollywood stars such as Benicio del Toro and Michelle Rodriguez, who have expressed interest in collaborating with El Rey on original programming.
One programming idea is “El Mariachi Theater,” in which El Rey would give $7,000 to a Latino filmmaker to make an indie feature. Rodriguez would then join the filmmaker on air to discuss the filmmaking process. At the end of the season, viewers would vote for their favorite movie, and the winning filmmaker would get the “El Mariachi treatment” — their film, like Rodriguez’s breakout, distributed by Columbia Pictures.
That El Mariachi show concept is killer. Especially if Rodriguez himself pulls out the winner’s envelope from a violin case.