100 Creatives: Baldemar Rodriguez, Film Director/Producer and Actor
Filmmaker Baldemar Rodriguez was studying acting at the University of Houston's School of Theater, when he encountered the age-old problem of finding interesting and relevant roles. "I thought, 'Instead of complaining, I'm going to do something about it. I'm going to get a different degree -- I'll learn how to write, direct and produce.' It took me two extra years to get my degree, but now, 15 years later, I've written, directed and produced a film that's going to be distributed nationally."
Baldemar Rodriguez (center) on the set of In Search of the American Dream
That film is In Search of the American Dream, the story of an immigrant Mexican family that's torn apart when the undocumented parents are arrested and scheduled for deportation. The family's adult son (Rodriguez) tries to keep the several younger children from being separated and placed in foster families. Rodriguez started filming for American Dream in 2008, shooting on weekends and holidays. "After we started, I was trying to hurry and finish, because the [child actors] were growing up and changing all the time. Four years and several hurricanes later, we finally finished," he laughs.
What he does: The Pasadena-bred Rodriguez quickly answers, "I tell people I'm a filmmaker, that I do movies. That means that I doing lots of different things, but in the end, I make movies."
Why he likes it: "I like that I'm doing something that I'm passionate about, that I wake up in the morning and go to sleep at night knowing that I'm doing something I love. So many people have to work in regular jobs to support their families and they don't get to use their talents. I'm lucky in that I get to use my talents every day.
"I enjoy every step of filmmaking, even the headaches and arguments, all of it. On this film, I wrote, I picked up the camera, I helped with the lights, I acted and I directed. Of all of that, I love acting and directing the most. If I could only do one thing, it would be acting. That's my real love."
What inspires him: "I'm inspired that I can tell stories that are important to me, to my family and friends, to the people I grew up with. I have the luxury of picking up a pencil and writing a story, of picking up a camera and making a film. With those opportunities open to me, I have more than enough ideas for stories to tell.
"In a more spiritual way, I'm inspired by my [late] mother. I know she always believed in me. Her dream was that I could achieve my dreams, whatever they were. That's coming true a little more every day."
If not this, then what:"My dream job is making films, so I'm doing my dream job. If I couldn't do that, I would want to work with my father; he mows lawns. I would want to do that so that I could spend time with him."
If not here, then where: "I would want to be right smack in the middle of it all, and that would LA."
What's next:"Well, what's next is the same thing as what's now. We spent so much time making American Dream, now it's time to take it to all the communities and get it seen. That's going to be a long process. I don't want to just make it and then send it out there on its own. I'm going to be hosting screenings at, hopefully, the 30 cities with the largest Hispanic communities.
"After that, I'm working on a project about mariachi music and mariachi history."
For information, visit the film's website.
More Creatives for 2012
(In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).
Linarejos Moreno, photographer
Heather Rainwater, artist, jewelry maker
Detria Ward, actress and entrepreneur
Justin Cronin, book author
Mark Ivy, actor
Lauren Luna, painter and shoe designer
Sarah Cortez, writer
Kent Dorn, drawer, painter, artist
Lillian Warren, painter
Carl Lindahl, folklorist, UH professor
Sutapa Ghosh, film producer and Indian Film Festival of Houston organizer
Tom Stell, actor, writer, director
Gregory Oaks, teacher and Poison Pen co-founder
Oliver Halkowich, dancer and performer
Lupe Mendez, poet and poem pusher
Jason Nodler, artistic director, playwright, director
Ana Treviño-Godfrey, musician
Matthew Detrick, classical musician
Travis Ammons, filmmaker
Florence Garvey, actress
Julia Gabriel, artist, designer and backpack maker
Rebecca French, choreographer and FrenetiCore co-founder
Kiki Neumann, found object folk artist
Flynn Prejean, Poster Artist
JoDee Engle, dancer
David Rainey, actor, artistic director and teacher
Geoff Hippenstiel, painter, art instructor
Jessica Janes, actress and musician
Dennis Draper, actor and director
Mat Johnson, novelist and tweeter
Orna Feinstein, printmaker and installation artist
Adriana Soto, jewelry designer
Domokos Benczédi, Noise and Collage Artist
Robert Boswell, Book Author, UH Prof
Patrick Turk, visual artist
Elizabeth Keel, playwright
Bob Martin, designer
Mary Lampe, short film promoter and developer
Nisha Gosar, Indian classical dancer
Jeremy Wells, painter
George Brock, theater teacher
Radu Runcanu, painter
Ariane Roesch, Mixed-Media
Sandie Zilker, art jewelry maker
Philip Hayes, actor
Patrick Palmer, painter
Ana Mae Holmes, Jewelry Designer
John Tyson, actor
Jerry Ochoa, violinist and filmmaker
Raul Gonzalez, painter, sculptor, photographer
Roy Williams, DJ of medieval music
Laura Burlton, photographer
David Peck, fashion designer
Rebecca Udden, theater director
Donae Cangelosi Chramosta, vintage designer handbag dealer
Paul Fredric, author
John Sparagana, photographer
Damon Smith, musician and visual artist
Geoff Winningham, photographer
Johnathon Michael Espinoza, visual artist
Jaemi Blair Loeb, conductor
Katya Horner, photographer
Johnathan Felton, artist
Nicoletta Maranos, cosplayer
Carol Simmons, hair stylist
Joseph "JoeP" Palmore, actor, poet
Greg Carter, director
Kenn McLaughlin, theater director
Justin Whitney, musician
Antone Pham, tattoo artist
Susie Silbert, crafts
Lauralee Capelo, hair designer
Marisol Monasterio, flamenco dancer
Carmina Bell, promoter and DJ
ReShonda Tate Billingsley, writer
Kiki Lucas, choreographer and director
J.J. Johnston, theater director
Mary Margaret Hansen, artist
Richard Tallent, photographer
Viswa Subbaraman, opera director
Emily Sloan, sculptor and performance artist
Sonja Roesch, gallery owner
Enrique Carreón-Robledo, conductor
Sandy Ewen, musician
Camella Clements, puppeteer
Wade Wilson, gallery owner
Magid Salmi, photographer
Carl Williams, playwright