Determined to find his missing daughter, detective Danny Rourke instead finds himself spiraling down a rabbit hole while investigating a series of reality-bending bank robberies where he will ultimately call into question his most basic assumptions about everything and everyone in his world. Aided by Diana Cruz, a gifted psychic, Rourke simultaneously pursues and is pursued by a lethal specter - the one man he believes holds the key to finding the missing girl - only to discover more than he ever bargained for.
Solstice Studios, Ingenious Media and Studio 8 present Hypnotic, a Double R production of a film by Robert Rodriguez. The mind-bending action thriller stars Academy Award® winner Ben Affleck (Air) as Danny Rourke, an Austin detective determined to find his missing daughter with the aid of psychic Diana Cruz (Alice Braga; “Queen of the South”), whose investigation will lead him to question his most basic assumptions about his world and everyone in it. The ensemble includes: JD Pardo (“Mayans M.C.”) as Rourke’s partner, Nicks; Hala Finley (Paradise Highway) as his missing daughter, Minnie; Dayo Okeniyi (Rise) as tech wiz cum conspiracy theorist, River; Jeff Fahey (Lost) as Carl; Jackie Earle Haley (Alita: Battle Angel) as the reclusive expat Jeremiah, and William Fichtner (The Dark Knight) as the enigmatic figure Rourke pursues to unravel the mystery behind it all. Ketchup Entertainment will release wide in the US on May 12.
Hypnotic is produced by Mark Gill, Guy Botham, Lisa Ellzey, Jeff Robinov p.g.a., John Graham, Racer Max and Robert Rodriguez p.g.a.. The executive producers are: James Portolese, Joshua Throne, Maitreya Yasuda, Crystal Bourbeau, Vincent Bruzzese, Beth Bruckner O’Brien, Peter Touche, Christelle Conan, Gareth West, Christopher Milburn, Artur Galstian, Vahan Yepremyan, Mark Williams, Walter Josten, Patrick Josten and Jordan Wagner. The co-executive producers are Ryan Basford, Court Coursey and Caylee Cowan.
Telepaths read the mind. Hypnotics reshape its reality.
It only takes an instant. A moment’s inattention and she is gone. All-consumed by his daughter’s disappearance without a trace following her abduction in a local park, Austin detective Danny Rourke (Ben Affleck), now a shell of his former self, returns to the only job he knows.
Following an anonymous tip, Rourke and his partner, Nicks (JD Pardo), make their way to the Bank of Austin where a robbery purportedly will take place later that day. Coming on the heels of two robberies at the bank’s branches in Houston and Amarillo, both inside jobs, each involving the theft of a single safe deposit box, the two men join a stakeout already in progress outside. And it is here where something catches Rourke’s eye. An increasingly suspicious, enigmatic figure (William Fichtner), now approaching the two armed security guards stationed just outside the building, who, following a brief exchange, suddenly stand down.
Breaking protocol, Rourke, suspecting the worst, abandons his post, enters the bank, secures a set of keys and beats the mysterious figure to the vault where he finds the target of the would-be heist: a single safe deposit box. But locked within it is something more valuable to the detective himself than anything he could have imagined - a polaroid of his own missing daughter with a hand scrawled note: “Find Lev Dell Rayne...”
As gunfire erupts, the attempted robbery unfolds - orchestrated by the mysterious figure, somehow manipulating the actions of everyone around him. Everyone but Rourke, who pursues the foiled suspect through a violent maelstrom of flames and bullets through the city streets until cornering him on a rooftop parking structure…Where he then vanishes into thin air, leaving a string of victims in his wake.
Who is the mystery man? What is his connection to Rourke’s missing daughter? What strange power does he possess and why has he initiated this game of cat and mouse? With the aid of Diana Cruz (Alice Braga), an unnerving psychic (and the woman behind the initial anonymous tip), Rourke will attempt to answer these questions and find his daughter as he navigates a dangerous shadow-world in which no one and nothing is quite what it seems.
Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez first began working on the story for Hypnotic in 2002, a passion project which would ultimately take just over twenty years to reach the screen. Inspired by a restored widescreen re-release of Hitchcock’s 1958 classic Vertigo, Rodriguez immediately set out to make a Hitchcockian thriller of his own - “a thrill ride in the Hitchcock sense, but on steroids because I wanted it to have relentless twists and turns,” he says of the project which would remain close to his heart in the years which followed. “Within ten minutes of coming up with the title, I came up with the basis of the story,” says Rodriguez, “a villain who could take anything they wanted from you, walk away, and you wouldn’t even know you met them.”
Working intermittently on the project in the ensuing years before partnering with writer Max Borenstein (Godzilla; Kong: Skull Island), Hypnotic went through many revisions according to Rodriguez, though the finished film still retains many of the original hooks and set pieces from his initial draft. “Some [movies] have a longer shelf life than others and there are things that have to happen in your life before you can complete them,” he says of the film’s genesis. “Some of the major twists that happen in the movie, I needed to live a little longer to realize what those were. Some of those bigger twists came with time.”
Springing to international prominence in 1992 with his micro-budgeted breakout, El Mariachi, Texas native Robert Rodriguez remains one of the most influential directors working today with films including From Dusk Till Dawn (and its subsequent TV spinoff), Sin City, the Spy Kids franchise, and more recently, We Can Be Heroes and Alita: Battle Angel. Along the way, Rodriguez, sticking with his signature DIY approach to filmmaking, built his own production facility, Austin’s Troublemaker Studios (where much of Hypnotic was shot) and has forged creative partnerships with moviemakers from James Cameron to Quentin Tarantino.
Notably, it was Rodriguez’s considerable filmography - and his distinctive approach - that also attracted the interest of two-time Oscar® winner, Ben Affleck, who seized upon the opportunity to collaborate with one of the industry’s most influential directors on his latest film, thus helping to shepherd Hypnotic into production.
- Ben Affleck as Danny Rourke -
“One thing that always elevated Hitchcock’s movies was his casting - Cary Grant, James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Ingrid Bergman - and we really wanted to cast this with superstars,” says Rodriguez of his ultimate pick for Hypnotic’s central role. “Ben Affleck, playing Rourke, brings that sort of Hitchcock mystique to this… He’s got such star quality and presence about him that I almost felt like I was shooting a Hitchcock film, like I was working with one of those classic movie stars. He just came in lean, mean and ready to rock; He was awesome.”
“What made me want to do the movie was the complexity of the character and the script,” says Affleck of his own initial attraction to the film. “And even more than that because of Robert Rodriguez and my admiration for him as a director.”
“I’ve always wanted to work with him. I’ve always been inspired by him, what he’s done from the beginning of his career on,” says Affleck. “I make it a kind of mission to work with directors that I can learn from. And on this one I learned a lot.”
While Hypnotic itself is a rollercoaster of plot twists and unsettling character revelations, the collaboration between industry peers Rodriguez and Affleck should come as no surprise. Since captivating audiences with his winning turn alongside Matt Damon in 1997’s Good Will Hunting (for which they both received Oscars® for penning the film’s screenplay), Affleck has not only remained one of the most in-demand movie stars, but an equally celebrated creative force behind the camera. Marking his directorial debut with Gone Baby Gone in 2007, he would eventually go on to direct Argo (2012) which would take the Academy Award® for Best Picture. For Robert Rodriguez, it meant his leading man in Hypnotic was also one of the industry’s leading filmmakers, a combination which would prove invaluable as filming progressed.
“The benefit of having directed movies is that when you work with somebody who’s really sharp technically, you know what they’re doing, you know what they want, and hopefully you know how to give it to them,” says Affleck, who also found in Rourke a character unlike any he’d ever played. “That’s because it’s a multilayered [story] where you have one level of reality and then we reveal another level, and another, and another,” explains Affleck. “There’s so much of it that might [initially] seem a little off, strange or disconcerting, and then later on you understand exactly why it is that way. I really liked that complicated multilayered aspect of it as well and I liked the acting challenge.”
“Basically, Ben’s character is chasing a man with this strange hypnotic power and so he brings in a hypnosis expert, Diana Cruz, played by Alice Braga, who introduces him and the audience to this underground world of hypnotics,” explains Rodriguez. “She becomes our conduit into this unsettling world where we will ultimately discover what they’re truly capable of.”
- Alice Braga as Diana Cruz -
For the central role of Diana Cruz, Rodriguez turned to Brazilian actress, Alice Braga, who first attracted Hollywood’s attention in 2002 with Fernando Meirelles’ City of God. Nominated for four Academy Awards® that year, the film is widely considered a contemporary classic and one which remains a favorite amongst audiences and critics alike.
Rodriguez, of course, was more than familiar with Braga’s work. In 2010, she had starred in the Rodriguez-produced, Predators, which was partly filmed on the Troublemaker lot in Austin. Hypnotic, however, would mark Braga’s first time working as an actress under the filmmaker’s direction. It was also a collaboration that nearly didn’t take place.
“I almost lost the project because of my schedule,” says Braga, who was still working on her hit series, “Queen of the South,” just before Hypnotic (along with countless other productions) was shut down due to the pandemic. “I really prayed for it to not move forward with a different actress,” says Braga. “I think I was the only person that was happy that they delayed production.”
“I was hopeful that we could get her for the movie and when that worked out I was really excited,” says Affleck of his costar. “She’s just a real pro. She’s so committed and so passionate about what she does it’s contagious - you can’t help but feel a tremendous amount of energy and excitement when you work with her.”
“Ben is simply amazing, someone who has so much knowledge of not only acting but also of filmmaking...It was an honor to work with him,” says Braga, who remains especially grateful for the chance to finally work with Robert Rodriguez as her director.
“The moment I opened the script, I loved it because it was different than anything I was reading,” says the actress. “Robert is a visionary. He’s been doing films for 30 years. He knows so much about moviemaking and so it’s a true joy to be around him because you can really let go and just be open for him to play and to follow his guidance… He’s the type of director that always brings something to the table. You see it in Sin City, you see it in Alita, and you see it in We Can Be Heroes. Three completely different projects, each with his DNA in it. That’s why he’s so special.”
“I just love what she brings to it - an incredible dimension, intelligence and a certain mystique to the role,” says Rodriguez of Braga’s work in Hypnotic. “She’s so good at making it all feel very real, genuine and, especially, heartfelt. That’s what the movie needed, that extra dimension - the human heart. And that’s what Alice brings.”
- Dayo Okeniyi as River -
With Braga’s Diana Cruz as his guide, Danny Rourke descends into a shadow world populated by hypnotics, especially gifted psychics capable of altering the perspectives of those around them. One such figure is Dayo Okeniyi’s character, River, a tech-wiz cum conspiracy-theorist, living in a compound on the fringes of society. In Cruz’s eyes, River could provide the key to finding the man who’s been baiting them since the Austin bank robbery, William Fichtner’s Dellrayne, and in turn lead them to Rourke’s missing daughter.
“I got the chance to read the script a long time ago, two or three years ago, and absolutely fell in love with it,” says Okeniyi, the Nigerian-American actor who recently starred in Rise for Disney+. “It was honestly one of the most entertaining, mind-bending stories I’ve ever read and - without saying too much - one of the most fascinating characters I’ve ever played because there’s a double nature to him,” says Okeniyi of River. “When that penny finally drops, it’s an incredible revelation for the audience.”
“Every time I read my scenes with him, I just loved it,” says Braga of working with Okeniyi. “Everybody knows a person like River. But in this it’s even more out there. I just love that character so much - he’s just so funny, intelligent and crazy.”
Says Okeniyi: “It was a lot of fun to play and Robert [Rodriguez] was incredibly collaborative as to what I could do with the character. As colorful as he was on the page, he wanted me to bring a lot of my own creativity, my own two-cents to the character, so that was a lot of fun too.”
“Everybody just brought their A-game to this,” Okeniyi continues. “You didn’t want to be the weak link of this group, whether it’s Ben Affleck, Alice Braga, JD Pardo or Bill Fichtner. They’re all just amazing, consummate professionals at what they do, and really have a hold on the character and a hold on the story. It was amazing just to play catch with these guys.”
- William Fichtner as Dellrayne -
One of the final members to join the Hypnotic cast was William Fichtner, the powerful hypnotic, Dellrayne, at the center of Robert Rodriguez’s psychological action thriller. “Not only are Rourke and Cruz pursuing this guy, but Dellrayne is after them as well,” explains Rodriguez of the character. “And it’s a mutual chase through the end of the film.’
“My agent sends me this script and says: ‘Read this – it’s called Hypnotic. Robert Rodriguez is making it and if you like it he’d like to have a Zoom with you,” says Fichtner of his unexpected casting. “Well, I read the script and I called him right back immediately: ‘Set that Zoom up.’”
“I talked to Robert and it was really interesting to listen to him go in-depth about the story,” Fichtner continues. “After fifteen, twenty-minutes on this Zoom he says to me: ‘This sounds great, I look forward to seeing you in Texas.’ And I’m sitting there thinking: ‘I think he just asked me to come and do this…’”
Currently featured in ABC’s “The Company You Keep,” Fichtner, whose films include The Dark Knight, Crash, and Black Hawk Down, has remained a fan-favorite over the years, playing by rough estimate over 90-roles in a career spanning 30-plus years. For the veteran-actor, the uncanny allure of Hypnotic was, nevertheless, threefold: playing the character of Dellrayne, the chance to reteam with Ben Affleck, and the opportunity to work for the very first time with Robert Rodriguez.
“I haven’t said this many times in my life, if ever, but there are some people I’ve worked with, Ridley Scott being one of them, where I was just happy to have that experience,” says Fichtner of Rodriguez. “To work with Robert - his vision, his style, his sense of how he shoots things, how he perceives things, the stories that he tells – it’s a little bit of a bucket list thing for me.”
Equally, Fichtner was keen to reteam with Ben Affleck, his costar from the blockbuster 1998 hit, Armageddon, from producer/director, Michael Bay. “Ben and I first met shooting [that] while we were trying to save the planet; we were kind of on the same team,” laughs Fichtner. “It’s a little different this time… This go around, I’m the asteroid, he’s the planet.”
The final draw for Fichtner was the chance to play the multifaceted character of Dellrayne.
“He caught my interest from the moment he shows up on the page and I never lost that excitement about this character,” explains the actor. “You never really get in front of the story, which is part of the reason [it’s] so amazing… I think that’s exciting for an audience, and it’s certainly always exciting for me when I watch things like that.” Says Rodriguez: “I cannot imagine someone better for this character; I mean, he’s actually got this hypnotic quality to him. You put the camera front and center and it’s there.”
Slated to begin shooting in Los Angeles in the spring of 2020, the production of Hypnotic was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. It would eventually begin 18-months later in Austin, with the bulk of production taking place at Robert Rodriguez’s Troublemaker Studios.
“Because it got pushed so many times because of Covid, that takes up budget,” explains Rodriguez, who as a result of the stop-start nature of the delay was also forced to tighten his production schedule. “By the time we went, it was one of the shortest shooting schedules I’ve ever had,” explains the director. “That also means you’re doing all the jobs again - [almost] like Mariachi time - directing, producing, writing, but also editing and cinematography,” says Rodriguez, who took on multiple roles to make Hypnotic as he did with his 1993 breakthrough.
Unlike his experience with El Mariachi, however, Rodriguez now had his own movie studio at his disposal with which to make Hypnotic, where principal photography began in late September 2021. It was here where the vast bulk of filming took place, including an extensive sequence set in Mexico (filmed on a repurposed set from his 2019 film, Alita: Battle Angel). Additional locations included Downtown Austin’s Republic Square (the setting for the film’s opening bank heist), Cedar Park, and nearby Georgetown (where Hypnotic’s climactic ending was shot).
“Still, there were very few days that we were actually on location,” notes the filmmaker. “Almost everything was shot in every nook and cranny of this place, from the elevators to the offices to behind the backlot, to a leftover set of Alita, doubling for Mexico… We utilized everything.”
“It was hard for me not to be jealous because it’s kind of my fantasy world,” says Affleck, with a tip of his hat to Rodriguez, of the overall experience. “He’s got all this great stuff to play with, this backlot of his own… If I could, I would do exactly the same. It’s a filmmaker’s fantasy.”
To expedite production, Rodriguez would often share camera duties with co-cinematographer, Pablo Berron. By night, he would typically put together a rough assembly of each day’s footage to give the actors a clearer idea of the movie they were making when they arrived at work the following morning. “It builds creative trust,” explains Rodriguez. “When they’re filming, they’re not always quite sure how it’s all going to add up, but when they see it edited together, they see the craftsmanship… You also get some incredible sequences on-camera in real time.”
“There’s an enthusiasm about Robert… I don’t think I’ve ever met anybody that quite has that,” says William Fichtner of working with Rodriguez. “The first day that I came to Austin, I got off the plane, did a wardrobe fitting, and went to see Robert on stage. They’d already been shooting for a couple of weeks. And Robert said immediately: ‘Come here I gotta show you something.’”
“He took me in this little screening room and showed me something that he shot the day before, and he had already cut it together,” Fichtner continues. “I had this instant glance at his style and what he’s thinking about… If that sort of enthusiasm is not infectious, I don’t know what is. And it was like that every single day we filmed.”
“Troublemaker Studios is like his private amusement park,” agrees Alice Braga. “He makes it all here. He has an amazing crew who he’s worked with for many, many years. It’s a family, and I knew that doing this movie with this family would be beyond special.”
Indeed, from working with longtime crew members and creative heads of departments (including production designers Steve Joyner & Caylah Eddleblute, and costume designer Nina Proctor), to actual members of the immediate Rodriguez clan, the filming of Hypnotic was very much a family affair. Included in the production mix were Rodriguez’s sons Racer (one of the film’s key producers on set) and Rebel, who provides Hypnotic’s score. “I used to compose the score for my films as well, but my Rebel, took the job from me,” laughs Rodriguez. “The last film we did, We Can Be Heroes, he wrote circles around me… On this, he’d already been writing music while we were in pre-production, so by the time we’d finished shooting he’d already got several main pieces of the score.” Not to be outdone, Rodriguez’s then 17 year-old son, Rogue, crafted the film’s pre-viz animatics. “That really helped us know what to shoot for the special effects... It gave everyone an idea of all the awesome imagery we were going to be adding later. And he created all that in his gaming engine.”
Filming on Hypnotic wrapped on November 16, 2021. For Affleck the experience was not only a chance to stretch as an actor, but to work closely with a filmmaker he’s long admired. “I came to appreciate and respect the speed with which he moves as well as the precision and desire for excellence,” says Affleck of Rodriguez. “I didn’t know what it was going to be like coming into this and I kind of feel like I found a kindred spirit in Robert. It was really fun to work with somebody you both look up to, who is also kind and genuinely inclusive in his process.”
“I guess the main thing I want audiences to come away with is to feel like they had fun and to appreciate and enjoy Robert’s unique style,” Affleck continues. “A lot of directors will tell you: ‘This is what I want to do with this movie,’ and it just looks like every other movie. Because Robert is so good, he really does make it feel both modern and like a movie from the 40s or 50s made by a master filmmaker. He’s really bold with using the entire toolkit to emulate, update and play on it in a really fun way that I think is unique.”
“It felt amazing, twenty years later, to see this come to life for the first time, to see it come together like some distant dream,” says Rodriguez.
“Hypnotic has always been my favorite original story since I started writing,” says the director. “It just captured my imagination and fueled tons of ideas, because it does what we’re trying to do as filmmakers. You bring an audience into a dark room and you try to make them believe that what they are seeing is absolutely real, at least real enough for them to be emotionally invested. You’re creating a hypnotic construct with images, sound and music, to make them believe and feel a certain way. And that’s what this film is about. That’s what happens to the characters, where they can’t tell what’s real and what’s not. That constant playing with the characters is what we do as filmmakers with the audience… This takes that, slams on the gas, and goes all the way with it.”
Ben Affleck has been recognized for his work as a director, actor, writer, and producer. He is the recipient of two Academy Awards, two BAFTA Awards, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Over his decades in the entertainment industry, Affleck’s acting credits include John Madden’s Oscar-winning Shakespeare in Love, David Fincher’s Gone Girl; the iconic role of ‘Batman’ in three feature films; Terrence Malick’s To the Wonder, Extract, Pearl Harbor, Hollywoodland, The Accountant, Armageddon, Triple Frontier and The Way Back.
Most recently, Affleck starred in George Clooney’s The Tender Bar, for which he received a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor and in the psychological thriller Deep Water based on the 1957 novel of the same name by Patricia Highsmith.
Affleck’s directorial credits include Live by Night, The Town, Gone Baby Gone for which he earned several critics groups’ awards, including the Best Directorial Debut Award from the National Board of Review. Most notably, Affleck directed, produced, and starred in the critically acclaimed film Argo, which was awarded top honors, including the BAFTA Award for Best Picture. Among its seven Oscar nominations, the film took home the title of Best Picture, Best Screenplay and Best Editing. Affleck was also praised for his work on the film and received the Critics’ Choice Awards for Best Director.
In addition to Affleck’s directorial roster, he has co-written screenplays for several films including The Last Duel which he co-wrote with Matt Damon, The Town, Gone Baby Gone, and Good Will Hunting with Damon which garnered him his first Academy Award.
Affleck recently reunited with Damon as business partners to launch Artists Equity, a production venture that vows to expand profit participation and provide a “talent-friendly” environment to creatives.
Affleck then teamed up with Damon to direct, co-write, produce and star in the first project under Artist Equity titled Air. The film is centered on the Nike executive who pursued Michael Jordan to partner with the shoe brand in the mid-80s. Air was released in theaters on April 3, 2023, and is slated to launch on Amazon Prime on May 12, 2023.
Affleck and Damon will also co-produce the upcoming film The Instigators for Apple. The story follows two thieves who must go on the run with the help of one of their therapists after a robbery goes awry.
Upcoming, Affleck will reprise his role as Batman in The Flash for Warner Brothers / DC Studios. He will also be seen starring in Hypnotic for director Robert Rodriguez.
In 2000, Affleck partnered with Matt Damon, Chris Moore and Sean Bailey to form LivePlanet. Their first endeavor, “Project Greenlight,” premiered in 2001 on HBO and drew critical, audience and industry attention for its behind-the-scenes look at the challenges faced by a first-time filmmaker. The second season of “Project Greenlight” aired on HBO in 2003, with a third season on Bravo in 2005. All three seasons were nominated for Emmy Awards. The fourth season of “Project Greenlight,” aired on HBO in 2015.
Pearl Street Productions co-produced Promised Land, directed by Gus Van Sant and written and produced by Matt Damon and John Krasinski; Jason Bourne, the Academy Award nominated film Manchester by the Sea and Live By Night for Warner Bros. which Affleck directed. The company also produced “Incorporated” for the Syfy Channel which Alex and David Pastor wrote and directed. On the small screen, Ben served as an executive producer of the Showtime’s drama series “City on A Hill.”
Outside of his successful film career, Affleck is also a passionate advocate and philanthropist who supports many charitable organizations. In March 2010, he founded the Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI), the first U.S.-based advocacy and grant-making initiative wholly focused on the mission of helping the people of eastern Congo support local community-based approaches that create a sustainable and successful society in the long-troubled region.
Brazilian born actress Alice Braga, received critical and international recognition for her performance in Fernando Meirelles’ City of God, and is best known for her captivating portrayal as Teresa Mendoza in USA network’s drama series “Queen of the South.” An adaptation of Arturo Perez-Reverte’s bestselling novel La Reina Del Sur, the acclaimed series ran for five successful seasons. Braga is one of the few, if not only, Latina women to lead a primetime network drama.
Braga is also one of the only few actors to portray characters for both the DC Extended Universe and Marvel Entertainment. She starred alongside an ensemble cast including Margot Robbie, Idris Elba and Viola Davis in Warner Bros’ The Suicide Squad, directed by James Gunn and portrayed Dr. Cecilia Reyes in Disney’s The New Mutants, with Ana Taylor-Joy and Charlie Heaton.
She will next be seen starring opposite Ben Affleck in Robert Rodriguez’s Hypnotic and in award-winning commercial director Ira Rosensweig’s film Share, and in FX’s Retreat with Brit Marling, Emma Corin and Clive Owen.
Braga is currently in production on Apple TV+, “Dark Matter” based on the adaptation of Blake Crouch’s acclaimed sci-fi novel which she stars alongside Joel Edgerton, Jennifer Connelly and Jimmi Simpson.
In 2020, Braga starred in Luca Guadagnino’s crucially acclaimed HBO drama series, “We Are Who We Are,” also starring Chloë Sevigny and Jack Dylan Grazer, and lent her voice to the Academy Award-winning Pixar feature Soul alongside Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey.
Braga has worked with some of Hollywood’s best directors and leading actors in films including Stuart Hazeldine’s The Shack alongside Sam Worthington and Octavia Spencer; Kieran-Darcy Smith’s The Duel opposite Woody Harrelson; Fernando Meirelles’ Blindness with Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo; David Mamet's Redbelt alongside Chiwetel Ejiofor and Emily Mortimer; Wayne Kramer's ensemble film Crossing Over, led by Sean Penn and Harrison Ford; Francis Lawrence’s blockbuster I Am Legend opposite Will Smith; Neill Blomkamp’s futuristic drama Elysium opposite Matt Damon and Jodie Foster; Walter Salles’ On The Road alongside Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst, Amy Adams and Garrett Hedlund; Mikael Hafstrom’s thriller The Rite opposite Anthony Hopkins; Miguel Sapochnik’s thriller Repo Man opposite Jude Law and Forest Whitaker; Nimrod Antal’s sci-fi Predators opposite Adrien Brody; and the riveting drama Lower City.
Braga is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish and English and is an environmental activist who works regularly with the organization Greenpeace.
JD Pardo is the star of FX’s hit series “Mayans M.C.,” which was recently renewed for a fifth and final season. He recently wrapped production on Prime’s reimagining of the 1989 MGM film Road House, starring alongside Jake Gyllenhaal. Earlier this year, he also starred alongside Chris Pratt in Prime Video’s action thriller series “The Terminal List.” The series, based on Jack Carr’s bestselling novel, was executive produced by Antione Fuqua.
Born and raised in Panorama City, CA, Pardo began his career with recurring arcs on NBC’s 2004 hit musical series, “American Dream” and in the CBS series “Clubhouse.” However, it was his portrayal of Gwen Araujo in the 2006 Lifetime movie A Girl Like Me: The Gwen Araujo Story that caught the eye of critics and audiences alike. The movie won the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Movie for Television and Pardo’s performance was hailed as “heartbreaking and thoroughly brilliant” by The Hollywood Reporter.
Pardo’s film credits include Guillermo Arriaga’s The Burning Plain in which he starred alongside Charlize Theron and Jennifer Lawrence, the final installment of the Twilight saga Breaking Dawn Part 2, the Dwayne Johnson action thriller Snitch, and Justin Lin’s F9: The Fast Saga for Universal in which he played “Jack Toretto” the father of Dominic (Vin Diesel) and Jakob (John Cena).
On the small screen, Pardo was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Actor in a Digital Daytime Drama Series for his work on Hulu’s “East Los High” in 2016. His additional television credits include starring roles on JJ Abram’s NBC drama “Revolution” and CW’s “The Messengers.”
Hala Finley was born in Kansas City, MO, where she found her passion for acting at a very young age. She started in the business by booking local commercials and short films in her hometown. At age 6, her family moved to Hollywood where she booked her first big role playing Matt LeBlanc's daughter in the CBS series, “Man With A Plan.” Finley's prior work includes lead roles in Back Roads, which debuted at Tribeca, alongside Juliette Lewis and Alex Pettyfer, Unplugging with Eva Longoria and Matt Walsh, and Robert Rodriguez's feature for Netflix, We Can Be Heroes, starring alongside Priyanka Chopra, Pedro Pascal, and Christian Slater. Finley can be seen currently in Anna Gutto's Paradise Highway with Morgan Freeman and Juliette Binoche. When she's not acting, Finley enjoys playing the guitar and performs with her band, Sour Apples. Finley loves animals, is a vegetarian, and of Libyan American descent. Finley is repped by Jennifer Millar at Paradigm, and Wendi Green & Nick Todisco at Atlas Artists.
Dayo Okeniyi is a Nigerian-American actor. Okeniyi grew up in Lagos Nigeria, the youngest of five siblings born to a Kenyan Mother and Nigerian Father. His father, now a retired customs officer and mother, a British literature teacher, were adamant that their children receive an education in the United States. Okeniyi received a bachelor’s degree in visual communications design from Anderson University in Anderson Indiana. He later moved to Los Angeles to pursue his true passions as an artist in the entertainment industry.
Upcoming, Okeniyi is set to star in Blake Crouch's series “Dark Matter” opposite Joel Edgerton and Jennifer Connelly for Apple TV+. He also has a supporting role opposite Ben Affleck and Alice Braga in Hypnotic directed by Robert Rodriguez.
Okeniyi stars as the family patriarch in the Disney+ feature Rise, based on the life of Giannis Antetokounmpo from director Akin Omotoso. Okeniyi can also be seen in Mimi Cave’s Legendary Entertainment film Fresh from Adam McKay, opposite Daisy Edgar-Jones and Sebastian Stan, which premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival and was acquired by Fox Searchlight for distribution on Hulu. He is also in Run Sweetheart Run directed by Shana Feste, and opposite Ella Balinska and Pilou Asbek for Amazon.
Previously, Okeniyi starred as “Shields Green” in Mark Amin’s Emperor for which he was nominated for Breakthrough Actor for the NAACP Awards. Additional film credits include the Paramount/Skydance tentpole Terminator: Genisys opposite Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke and Jai Courtney, Universal’s Endless Love, James Ponsoldt’s The Spectacular Now opposite Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson and Miles Teller. He is also known for playing the tribute “Thresh” in Gary Ross’ The Hunger Games.
In television, Okeniyi is set to reprise his role in season 2 of Steven Knight’s hit Apple TV+ series “See” with Jason Momoa. He was also a series regular on NBC’s crime drama “Shades of Blue” opposite Jennifer Lopez and Ray Liotta.
Okeniyi is also a co-founder of Positive Vibes Only (PVO) Global and a (RED) ambassador. POV Global is an organization that uplifts black culture with a commitment to social impact. (RED) is an organization founded by Bono and Bobby Shriver that fights AIDS and pandemics in sub-Saharan Africa.
Jeff Fahey has been a world traveler in search of the next adventure. Fahey has proven his adaptability and determination to succeed when he began to study in 1974 at the Grotowski Experimental Theatre and the Studio Arena in Buffalo, New York. Through the Grotowski Experimental Theatre Fahey was also introduced to the world of dance where he studied with Martha Graham School, The Alvin Alley School and then with the Joffrey Ballet. At the Joffrey, he was taken under the wing of legendary choreographer Agnes De Mille.
Fahey came to prominence with stage roles in the Broadway productions of “Brigadoon,” “Oklahoma,” “West Side Story” and took “West Side Story” to rave reviews in Paris, France. Upon returning to New York, Fahey was set to star as ‘Gary Corelli’ in the popular daytime soap opera "One Life to Live." Fahey starred on daytime television in order to finance his own experimental theatre productions on off and off-off Broadway.
Fahey received his feature film break when he was offered the role of ‘Tyree’ in Lawrence Kasdan’s Silverado starring opposite Kevin Costner, Brian Dennehy, Kevin Klein, and Danny Glover. From his breakthrough in Silverado in 1984 and continuing in an unbroken line to the present day, Fahey has never experienced a lull in his acting career. Working alongside Robert Mitchum, Brian Dennehy, Pierce Brosnan, Clint Eastwood, just to name a few and with directors like Larry Kasdan, Sandra Locke, John McKenzie, Clint Eastwood, Dan Petrie Sr., and Gary Sinise. Fahey followed his many varied film roles with a hugely successful run on the stage in London in the production of “Orphans” starring opposite Albert Finney and Kevin Anderson.
Fahey was offered the opportunity to star in the television series, “The Marshal,” produced by his close friend, and acting colleague, Don Johnson. Fahey has said that more than any other vehicle he had acted in his own personality, values, and feelings become encompassed in the character that was to evolve, and emerge, as Winston MacBride. Unique in its concept, the show starred only Fahey - as he liked to say in interviews at the time - "one man, one hour".
Never one to wait for life to catch up to his aspirations and goals, Fahey now added producing to his resume. He has brought his passion for film to the other side of the camera as a producer on the films Close Call, Choosing Matthias, Extra Marital, The Underground and The Sweeper. All of Jeff’s endeavors in producing have been both critical and financial successes.
Fahey commuted back and forth from Afghanistan, where he was involved with a number of humanitarian causes, to Hawaii where he became a series regular on the world-wide hit television series “Lost” as the intrepid pilot Frank Lapidus, and upon returning from multiple trips to the Western Sahara where he worked on behalf of the refugees, he starred in the film Machete opposite Robert De Niro. Fahey has been proud to star recently in “Under The Dome” for Steven Spielberg and Stephen King, Too Late opposite John Hawks and Robert Forster, and Dawn Patrol for friend and director Dan Petrie Jr.
Fahey found his way back to the stage in 2012 starring in “Next Fall” at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles opposite Betsy Brandt, Leslie Ann Warren, James Wolk and Geoffrey Nauffts. He recently starred in over 300 sold out performances of “Twelve Angry Men” at the Garrick Theatre in the West End of London opposite Martin Shaw and Robert Vaughn for director Chris Hayden and producer Bill Kenwright. Fahey climbed the boards once again in London starring in the Gore Vidal play “The Best Man” for director Simon Evans and producer Bill Kenwright.
Fahey recently starred in ambitious Kevin Costner helmed multi hour project Horizon, and another collaboration with Robert Rodriguez starring in Hypnotic opposite Ben Affleck, in the eight-hour mini-series “Texas Rising” for director Roland Joffe and starring opposite Bill Paxton, Ray Liotta, and a great list of stars. He can be seen starring in the hit series “Wu Assassins” on Netflix, “Justified” on FX with Tim Olyphant and in the final episode of “Falling Skies” opposite Noah Wyle. Fahey has been excited to play the role of Eddy in the El Rey series “From Dusk Till Dawn,” and has again been reunited with longtime friend and director Robert Rodriguez and producer James Cameron to star in the Fox Feature film Alita: Battle Angel the mega budgeted hit and will be returning to the sequels. Fahey has a number of films scheduled for release shortly and one that he's particularly excited about is Alone that he starred in for director Kirsty Bell.
After 41 years of work in the industry, well over 200 feature films and hundreds of hours of television it has enabled Fahey to have access and friendships with all of the great actors, directors, writers and artisans of the entertainment industry. The sheer number of projects alone does not only give Jeff Fahey access to the Hollywood elite, but it is the respect that he has garnered through his tireless and professional work ethic. All of Jeff Fahey’s work on both sides of the camera has enabled him to have a unique perspective that will ensure that any production will be both professional and profitable.
JACKIE EARLE HALEY
Academy Award nominated actor Jackie Earle Haley is known for his roles in Todd Field’s Little Children, Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island, Zack Snyder’s Watchmen as the antihero Rorschach, and for as his portrayal of Freddy Krueger in the reimagining of A Nightmare on Elm Street, the franchise’s highest grossing film. He also appeared in James Cameron/Robert Rodriquez feature film Alita: Battle Angel opposite Christoph Waltz, Mahershala Ali, and Jennifer Connelly, as well as Robocop, Dark Shadows, and London has Fallen, to name a few. Among Haley’s many TV credits are Showtime series “First Lady” with Gillian Anderson, “The Tick,” Amazon’s most viewed show in 2017, Netflix highly acclaimed “Narcos: Mexico,” and AMC’s “Preacher.” He can be seen in the soon-to-be-released Netflix feature film Our Man From Jersey with Mark Wahlberg and Halle Berry, The Retirement Plan with Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman, and playing opposite Billy Bob Thornton and Robin Wright in Devil's Peak.
Having appeared in a wide range of films along with television and theater roles over the course of his career, William Fichtner continues to carve out a distinctive reputation as one of our most versatile and talented actors, whether in comedy or drama, action or character study. He is one of Hollywood’s most distinct and familiar faces.
Fichtner can next be seen in the Robert Rodriguez feature film Hypnotic alongside Ben Affleck and Alice Braga, and in 88 directed by Thomas Ikimi. Other recent films include The Birthday Cake, co-starring Ewan McGregor and Val Kilmer; The Space Between, opposite Kelsey Grammer and directed by Rachel Winter; Jack & Josie directed by Sarah Lancaster; Armed, written and directed by Mario Van Peebles; Finding Steve McQueen with Forest Whitaker, and opposite Jeffery Wright in the indie feature O.G. directed by Madeleine Sackler that premiered on HBO. Fichtner also starred alongside Jon Voight in the indie feature American Wrestler: The Wizard; Krystal directed by William H. Macy, and produced and starred in the indie feature The Neighbor. Pivoting to the other side of the camera, Fichtner directed, produced, co-wrote, and starred in his feature film Cold Brook shot mostly in his hometown of Buffalo, New York. Segueing between television and feature films, Fichtner led an ensemble cast in the original first 2 seasons of the international crime series “Crossing Lines.” He recurred on HBO’s “Entourage” from 2009-2011 and played FBI Agent Alexander Mahone for three seasons on Fox’s hit drama series, “Prison Break.” Fichtner recently played Adam on CBS’s hit show “Mom” opposite Allison Janney, from creator Chuck Lorre.
Fichtner can now be seen in the Peacock limited series “Joe vs Carol” where he stars alongside Kate McKinnon and John Cameron Mitchell.
Other feature films include 12 Strong for producer Jerry Bruckheimer; Independence Day: Resurgence directed by Roland Emmerich; Paramount’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; director Gore Verbinski’s The Lone Ranger and Neil Blomkamp’s Elysium. He also co-starred in writer-director Paul Haggis’ Academy Award-winning Crash. For his performance in that film, he shared a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Ensemble Cast in a Feature Film. Other film credits include Drive Angry for director Patrick Lussier; Shawn Levy’s Date Night; Blades of Glory with Will Ferrell; Chris Nolan’s The Dark Knight; the remake of The Longest Yard; the comedy The Amateurs with Jeff Bridges; Rodrigo Garcia’s Nine Lives; Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down; What’s The Worst That Could Happen; Wolfgang Peterson’s The Perfect Storm; Drowning Mona; Ultraviolet and Equilibrium, both for writer-director Kurt Wimmer; Armageddon directed by Michael Bay; Michael Mann’s Heat; Robert Zemeckis’ Contact; Doug Liman’s Go; Strange Days directed by Katherine Bigelow; Passion of Mind; Steven Soderbergh’s The Underneath; Agnieszka Holland’s Julie Walking Home and The Settlement with John C. Reilly, among many others.
As a member of the Circle Repertory Theatre, Fichtner won critical acclaim for his role in “The Fiery Furnace,” directed by Norman Rene. Other stage credits include “Raft of the Medusa” at the Minetta Lane Theatre, “The Years” at the Manhattan Theatre Club, “Clothes for a Summer Hotel” at the Williamstown Theatre festival and “Machinal” at The Public Theatre.
Directed By / Screenplay / Story / Producer / Director of Photography / Editor
Robert Rodriguez is a film director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer, editor and musician. His first film, El Mariachi, was made for $7,000 with Rodriguez as the entire crew.
El Mariachi, went on to win the coveted Audience Award at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival, and became the lowest budget movie ever released by a major studio. Rodriguez wrote about these experiences in Rebel Without a Crew, a perennial guide for the independent filmmaker.
Rodriguez went on to write, produce, direct and edit a series of successful films including Desperado, From Dusk Till Dawn, The Faculty, the Spy Kids franchise, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Frank Miller’s Sin City, The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3D, Grindhouse, and Machete.
He collaborated with director James Cameron on the film adaptation of Alita: Battle Angel based on Yukito Kishiro’s manga.
In 2017, Rodriguez, alongside his sons Racer and Rebel, formed Double R Productions, where they created a new $7,000 feature Red 11, a state of the art VR live-action short called The Limit and a feature film, We Can Be Heroes, in partnership with Netflix.
We Can Be Heroes has become one of Netflix’s most popular films of all time. He recently directed an episode of “The Mandalorian” and the Star Wars series “The Book of Boba Fett.”
He recently completed the upcoming action thriller Hypnotic, starring Ben Affleck, and is finishing a reboot of Spy Kids.
He resides in Austin, Texas.
Mark Gill is a motion picture producer and the former president of Solstice Studios, Millennium Films, Warner Independent Pictures and Miramax Films. He has 30 years of experience in the movie business and a $2.1 billion production track record.
At Solstice, he produced the highly profitable Unhinged starring Russell Crowe and the forthcoming Hypnotic starring Ben Affleck and directed by Robert Rodriguez.
Gill is widely credited with having revived Millennium’s creative and economic fortunes with such hits as Olympus Has Fallen ($165 million at the worldwide box office), London Has Fallen ($205M), Mechanic: Resurrection ($125M) and the first Hitman’s Bodyguard. He also worked on the two most-recent two Expendables films.
Gill was previously CEO of The Film Department (Law-Abiding Citizen); the founding President of Warner Independent Pictures, where he oversaw March of the Penguins and Good Night and Good Luck; and prior to that President of Miramax Films, where he worked on such films as Frida, The English Patient, Shakespeare in Love, Chicago, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Good Will Hunting and Pulp Fiction. He joined Miramax as President of Marketing.
Prior to that, he held senior positions in the marketing department of Columbia Pictures. He began his career as a journalist with the Los Angeles Times, and then with Newsweek magazine. He is an alumnus of the University of Southern California and Harvard Business School.
Guy Botham is a Serial Entrepreneur, movie and TV producer, one of the founders of Solstice Studios, owner of Vitality Visual Effects, and founder of Arch Platform Technologies, a leading cloud-based infrastructure provider.
Spanning a career of over twenty-five years, Lisa Ellzey has distinguished herself as a hands-on creative film producer and studio executive operating at the highest levels of leadership in the entertainment industry. Most recently, she was Head of Production at Solstice Studios where she produced their first film, Unhinged, starring Russell Crowe. She was previously President of U.S. Production at Europacorp, the European studio created by Luc Besson where she oversaw development and production of their distribution slate and produced a number of films, including The Command, directed by Thomas Vinterberg, starring Colin Firth, Matthias Schoenaerts, and Lea Seydoux.
Previously, she was an Executive Vice President at Lionsgate Entertainment where she was the executive producer of the Academy Award-nominated Warrior, directed by Gavin O’Connor and starring Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton and Nick Nolte. Before joining Lionsgate, she was an Executive Vice President at Twentieth Century Fox. Prior to joining Fox, Ellzey was President of Scott Free Entertainment, the company owned by Ridley and Tony Scott.
She was the executive producer of the Academy Award-nominated The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007), directed by Andrew Dominick and starring Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck. She produced In Her Shoes (2005), directed by Curtis Hanson, and starring Cameron Diaz, Shirley Maclaine, and Toni Collette, and Tristan and Isolde (2006), directed by Kevin Reynolds and starring James Franco.
Ellzey was the executive producer of Ridley Scott’s A Good Year (2006), starring Russell Crowe and Albert Finney, Kingdom of Heaven (2005), starring Orlando Bloom, Liam Neeson, Ed Norton, and Jeremy Irons, and Tony Scott’s Domino (2005), starring Keira Knightly and Mickey Rourke. While at Scott Free, Ellzey was also the co-executive producer of the HBO historical drama The Gathering Storm (2002), starring Albert Finney and Vanessa Redgrave, which earned her the 2002 Emmy Award for Best Made for Television Movie. In addition, the film received two Golden Globes Awards, including Best Miniseries or Motion Picture, three BAFTA Awards and a Peabody Award. While at Scott Free, she participated in the development and production of Blackhawk Down, Man on Fire, Spy Game and Hannibal. She began her career as the producer of the independent feature The Poison Tasters, which premiered at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival.
Ellzey is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the Executive Branch and is also a member of the Producers Guild of America, where she is an active participant in their mentoring program. She is a magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of University of California, Los Angeles.
JEFF ROBINOV p.g.a.
Jeff Robinov is founder and CEO of Studio 8, a multi-platform media company and champion of filmmaker-driven content prioritizing the unique insight and creative vision of their artistic partners. Recent projects produced by Robinov and his Studio 8 team include, Apple’s The Instigators, starring Matt Damon and Casey Affleck and produced alongside Damon and Ben Affleck’s production venture Artists Equity, as well as Focus Features’ Nosferatu directed by Robert Eggers and starring Aaron Taylor Johnson. Robinov also produced Amazon’s highly anticipated drama Air, alongside Ben Affleck and Matt Damon who star in the film. Air, which hit theaters April 5th, dives into the remarkable, ground-breaking partnership between Michael Jordan and Nike’s basketball division.
Prior to launching Studio 8, Robinov served as President of Warner Bros. Picture Group where he played an integral role in the development and growth of the division and created a singular vessel integrating the Studio’s production, marketing and distribution operations. Robinov oversaw an impressive sequence of award-winning content along with some of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed films and franchises in recent memory including, The Dark Knight trilogy, which garnered over $2.4 billion worldwide, The Hangover films, one of the most popular R-rated comedy franchises grossing over $1.4 billion worldwide, Inception, reaching over $825 million worldwide, Argo, amassing over $230 million worldwide and recipient of the 2013 Academy Award for Best Picture, and Gravity which surpassed $716 million worldwide and won seven Academy Awards including Best Director. Under Robinov’s leadership, the division crossed the billion-dollar mark every year since 2002 in both domestic and international box office. Robinov began his tenure at Warner Bros. as Senior Vice President of Production.
Studio 8 is based in Los Angeles, California.
John Graham is the head of creative and producing partner at Studio 8, a multi-platform media company championing filmmaker-driven content that prioritizes the unique insight and creative vision of their artistic partners. Studio 8 was founded by former Warner Bros. Motion Pictures President, Jeff Robinov.
Under Graham’s guidance, Studio 8 has sold an impressive collection of films to major studios and streaming platforms such as, Amazon, Apple, Disney/Disney+, Focus Features, Paramount, Sony, Warner Bros and HBO Max. Projects currently in production and produced by Graham include, Robert Eggers’ Nosferatu starring Bill Skarsgard, Lily-Rose Depp, Aaron Taylor Johnson, Nicholas Hoult and Willem Dafoe for Focus Features, as well as The Instigators directed by Doug Liman and starring Matt Damon, Casey Affleck and Hong Chau for Apple with Graham and Robinov producing alongside Damon and Ben Affleck’s production venture, Artists Equity. Graham serves as executive producer for Amazon’s recent release Air starring Ben Affleck and Matt Damon which dives into the remarkable, ground-breaking partnership between Michael Jordan and Nike’s basketball division. Additionally, Graham produced Robert Rodriguez’s latest action thriller Hypnotic, in theaters May 2023.
Prior to working at Studio 8, Graham was VP at Paramount Pictures where he oversaw the development and production of films including, Bad Robot's 10 Cloverfield Lane. Before joining Paramount, John was the Director of Development at Sony Screen Gems and a vital part of developing some of the more memorable films from the early aughts such as, Friends with Benefits, Easy A, The Roommate and Legion.
Racer Max is a writer and producer for his own Double R Productions, a development and production company with the capabilities to produce media projects across film, television, gaming, and interactive platforms. Racer formed the company alongside his father, acclaimed film director Robert Rodriguez, and his brother, composer Rebel Rodriguez.
At the age of 7, Racer created the characters and helped craft the story for the 2004 classic family film The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl.
For the first of many Double R Productions projects, Racer wrote and produced a state-of-the-art virtual reality live-action short called The Limit. Starring Michelle Rodriguez and Norman Reedus, it was released to all VR platforms in November 2018.
Soon after, Racer co-created the film Red 11. To commemorate the 25th anniversary of El Mariachi, Robert Rodriguez went back to his roots and challenged himself to make a feature film under the same constraints he had in 1992, with a budget of only $7,000 dollars and 14 days to shoot. Racer co-wrote and produced the film in addition to being the film’s sole crew member. The production of the film was also documented for a 6-part docu-series called “Rebel without a Crew: The Robert Rodriguez Film School.”
Racer went on to produce We Can Be Heroes for Netflix. Returning to their family entertainment roots, Double R Productions’ imaginative project became one of the top family films on the platform.
Racer produced Double R Production’s latest film, Hypnotic, an action thriller that had a “work in progress” premiere at SXSW in 2023.
He resides in Austin, Texas.
Co-Director of Photography
Born and raised in Mexico City, Pablo Berron has been in love with the movies since he was a kid. His group of friends embodied the cliche of aspiring filmmakers: making stop motion movies with their dad’s home video gear, sneaking into R rated movies in the theaters, staying up all night watching Star Wars on repeat. When his father begrudgingly had to relocate the family to the US, Berron's consolation was that he'd be able to go to an American film school for college. He ended up getting a film studies degree from the University of Colorado, where he split his time between writing heady papers about experimental filmmaking and photographing a large percentage of the film production students' thesis films on 16 and 35mm film. After a few years in New York City post college, his career as a cinematographer started picking up steam. Before he knew it he had made Hollywood his home, living his childhood dream. 15 years later, he’s still in LA. In the summer of 2021 he got asked by Billie Eilish to lens her Love Letter to Los Angeles, where he got to spend a couple of weeks at the iconic Hollywood Bowl working closely with Billie, Gustavo Dudamel, and the LA Philharmonic. The film was co-directed by the legendary Robert Rodriguez. Berron and Rodriguez hit it off on that shoot, and the visionary director asked him to come to his studios in Austin a month later to work on Rodriguez’s new film Hypnotic. Berron couldn’t be more excited about the movie finally hitting theaters this May.
STEVE JOYNER & CAYLAH EDDLEBLUTE
Caylah Eddleblute and Steve Joyner have worked as a team in the Art Dept in multiple roles for 30 plus years. Wow. That time blew by! Their philosophy? If you want to run the hotel you better know how to fix the dishwasher. Or know the expert who can. And will. You are nothing without a great team. Both learned from the ground up, as Construction Dept PAs, Set Dressers and Prop Assistants. No frills. No big film school. No pedigree. Just sheer will. They teamed up, bought their own 5 ton truck, equipped it with kits and tools, rebuilt the engine, themselves, and created their own Property Department. They churned through movies of the week, learned by trench warfare, and ultimately had great generals to teach them. The run and gun, fast paced director and editor Robert Rodriguez and the methodical, performance focused Quentin Tarantino were exceptional counterpoints from whom to learn. Both directors attend to all elements of their projects with an exacting eye and passed that attention to detail on.
Their first gig with Rodriguez, was the cult classic From Dusk Till Dawn. A weekend spent purchasing a guitar case, lining it with red velvet and displaying it full of prop guns as an homage to El Mariachi made for a memorable interview and landed them the Property Department position, their break into features. It was a great lesson. In a visual medium, show up with some fun.
Along the way they produced, directed and edited their own mountaineering documentary, In Pursuit of Denali, Climbing Alaska’s Mt. McKinley. They started designing and fabricating set pieces and vehicles, cultivating talented sculptors and artists along the way.
It was Rodriguez who, realizing their potential, assigned them their first official Production Design position, on the double feature Grindhouse. Years of on set experience taught them to study the characters, beats, and elements closest to camera, and gave them the edge to ensure all set pieces and props could withstand the action in a scene. They learned early on, it doesn’t matter how good a set or prop looks, if it doesn’t work on the day. Finding knockout locations, creating epic sets like the 52,000 square foot Iron City in Jim Cameron’s Alita Battle Angel, and attending to the finest detail of a delicate prop to be showcased in an insert shot, is the adrenaline rush they just can’t quit!
Nina Proctor is a Costume Designer who has collaborated with Robert Rodriguez for over a decade, designing on such projects as Sin City, A Dame To Kill For, Spy Kids Game Over, Spy Kids All The Time in The World, Machete, Machete Kills, Alita Battle Angel, We Can Be Heroes and the latest project Hypnotic. Proctor loves working with textiles, leathers and has much knowledge of tailoring, draping and pattern making. She also has a love for dying and aging. Proctor’s goal is that the costume become an important part of helping directors tell their story and strives for her costumes to be a character building tool for the actors. She loves designing and the process of creating unique pieces through the use of textiles, textures and color. Other interests include cooking, gardening and above all spending time with family.
Rebel Rodriguez has composed music in both Film and VR.
Rebel is a composer for his own Double R Productions, a development and production company with capabilities to produce media projects across film, television, gaming, and interactive platforms. Rebel formed the company alongside his father, acclaimed film director Robert Rodriguez, and his older brother, writer and producer Racer Rodriguez.
Rebel began in the industry performing stunts at the age of 2 in Spy Kids 2.
By age of 5, he acted and did stunts as young Sharkboy in the film The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 2005.
Rebel composed the music for the first Double R Production, a state-of-the-art virtual reality live-action short called The Limit. Starring Michelle Rodriguez and Norman Reedus, it was released to all VR platforms in November 2018.
Soon after, Rebel both acted in a leading role as well as composed the music for the film Red 11, $7,000 feature film shot in 14 that was also documented for a 6-part docu-series called “Rebel without a Crew: The Robert Rodriguez Film School.”
Rebel went on to compose the original orchestral score for We Can Be Heroes for Netflix. Returning to their family entertainment roots, Double R Productions’s imaginative project became one of the top family films on the platform.
Rebel composed the original score for Double R Productions’s latest film, Hypnotic, an action thriller that had a “work in progress” premier at SXSW in 2023.
Rebel is currently completing his fourth feature film score with a reboot of Spy Kids for Netlfix.
Rebel also made a name for himself in the weapons manufacturing industry as a professional bladesmith with his own blade-making company Rebelde Blades.
Rebel appeared on Season 1 and 2 of El Rey Network’s “Man at Arms: Art of War.”
In 2018, Rebel went on to compete in History Channel’s competition reality series “Forged in Fire,” where he took home the championship in the Wind and Fire Wheels episode.
He resides in Austin, Texas.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Ryan Ryusaki has performed as a stuntman and actor since the ripe age of 7. As the son of a legendary husband and wife stunt team, Ryusaki made a splash in 2011 when he was honored with two Taurus Awards for his performance in Predators. (Best High Fall and Best Specialty Stunt) Ryusaki has worked on multiple feature films with notable directors such as Antoine Fuqua, Peter Berg, and Robert Rodriguez (Equalizer 2, Magnificent 7, Spy Kids series). In the last years, he played multiple characters in “The Book of Boba Fett,” “The Mandalorian” season 2 and 3, and “Ashoka.” He is also known for his recent work as the Fight Choreographer for We Can Be Heroes as well as the Stunt Coordinator for Hypnotic, No One Will Save You, and On Swift Horses – a film adaptation of the novel by Shannon Pufahl.
Casting Director Mary Vernieu has cast over 400 features during her career. With an eye for talent in both actors and filmmakers, she has developed and enjoyed long-standing working relationships with many acclaimed directors such as Darren Aronofsky, Craig Gillespie, David O. Russell, Rian Johnson, David Ayer, Sam Levinson, Ric Roman Waugh, Robert Rodriguez, and Oliver Stone. In 2013, Mary won Artios Awards for the casting of Silver Linings Playbook, Knives Out and “Euphoria” and has since been nominated for A Star Is Born, Deadpool II, Cruella, Bird Box, The Menu, Pachinko and Glass Onion. Vernieu’s company, Betty Mae, is named in a loving homage to her mother and grandmother.
MICHELLE WADE BYRD
Casting Director and Los Angeles native Michelle Wade Byrd is proud to be a fixture at Betty Mae for the last sixteen years, collaborating with Mary Vernieu on over 80 films and 6 television series together. Some recent casting highlights include the television series “Pachinko,” “Interior Chinatown,” “King Shaka,” and the pilot “Matlock,” as well as films Next Goal Wins, A Christmas Story Christmas, Bird Box, National Champions, Greenland, We Can Be Heroes and Girls Trip.
Ketchup Entertainment has been a driving force in the film industry since its inception in 2012, when it launched its domestic distribution label. With an unwavering commitment to innovation, Ketchup has established itself as a major player in both creative theatrical releasing and film financing, boasting an impressive and diverse slate of titles. Ketchup is dedicated to bridging the gap between independent films and their eager audiences, offering a refreshing alternative to the cookie-cutter content being churned out by mainstream studios.
Leveraging our robust acquisitions and marketing funds, as well as direct access to theatrical and ancillary outputs, Ketchup actively acquires and distributes films across all media. We pride ourselves on our ability to work closely with filmmakers and producers to craft specialized and highly targeted marketing campaigns, delivering unparalleled exposure for our films.
Recent years have seen Ketchup Entertainment achieve a string of impressive successes, with standout titles including the charming British romantic comedy A Royal Night Out, the inspiring documentary Linsanity, the Emmy-winning BBC film Lost Christmas and Robert Rodriguez’s action thriller Hypnotic starring Ben Affleck. Through our unwavering commitment to quality and innovation, Ketchup Entertainment continues to push boundaries and lead the way in the world of film distribution.