"I just try to live the best I can, you know, and do the best I can everyday. Hopefully, inspire some people to try everyday. Everybody has a different path,everybody a different journey, they come from different places." -Elizabeth Avellan
If you've met her, you already know. If you've seen any of the movies she's been involved in, you might already know. Elizabeth Avellan is an American Producer and like many producers, doesn't get the same attention that maybe your A-List actors or action filled films may. Which films would those be? Glad you asked - she has produced: EL MARIACHI, DESPERADO, FROM DUSK TIL DAWN (and both sequels), SPY KIDS 1,2,and 3D, SIN CITY, GRINDHOUSE, MACHETE, and many more. Sounding familiar? Well, you may already know her as Robert Rodriguez's former wife and mother of their five children (Rocket, Racer, Rebel, Rogue, and Rhiannon), they separated in 2008. What you might not know is how driven, strong, ambitious, talented, and inspirational she is - allow me to tell you.
"To be a role model is kind of great. Somebody can look at you and say I can do it. You may do it a different way than I did but it's important to have done it and say I can do it, too." -Elizabeth Avellan
Elizabeth was born in Caracas, Venezuela, where her grandfather, Gonzalo Veloz, was the pioneer for commercial television. She was thirteen years old when she left for Houston, Texas with her family where she would later graduate from Rice University and have her first taste of behind-the-scenes production from working as a stage manager and props master/mistress. In 1986, she moved again, this time to Austin where she would work in the Office of the Executive Vice-President and Provost of the University of Texas, and continue her studies in film production, art, and architecture. It is also where she would meet her future husband.
Elizabeth worked as an animator on BEDHEAD - Rodriguez's award winning and critically acclaimed short, she co-founded Los Hooligans Productions when the two started work on EL MARIACHI, she was inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame on March 9th, 2007, was the first recipient of the of the 1st annual Ann Richards Award, she is the co-owner of Troublemaker Studios - which has made over 14 movies that have made over nine hundred million dollars at the box office with hundreds of millions more in DVD and video sales, not to mention that the studios has made Austin the 'Texas Hollywood' and given film making opportunities to hundreds of locals.
What's next for Elizabeth? More films and an expansion with Trouble Maker Studios. With Robert and Elizabeth making their own films in Texas, there will be twice as much opportunity and film work in Austin. Before now, Elizabeth has been behind the scenes, not too in the spotlight. Shockingly, there was a list for the 'Latino Power 50' that showcased fifty of Hollywood's male and female Latino talent that didn't even acknowledge Elizabeth on the list. Robert was number 3 and she wasn't even mentioned in his article. Sometimes the truly deserving get overlooked - hopefully with this new direction in her career and a focus on her own projects, Elizabeth Avellan will become a household name, so little girls can grow up dreaming of wearing suit dresses and doing business with the Weinsteins.
I am amazed at her professionalism. In a situation where tabloids and gossipy types were foaming at the mouth for a dirty, scandalous divorce, we get two adults acting like adults and being professional. I see loving and fun parents. I see a woman not speaking emotionally about the past, but looking at the situation as a positive for her community because there will be more productions and opportunity to work.
"He can make his movies here, just like I can make my movies here. It’ll be good for Austin: if I bring a movie in, and Robert does a movie too, this place will be much more used. People can say, ‘Oh, it’ll never work.’ And I’m like, ‘You know what? It’ll work.’ I’m excited at the prospect of showing them — of showing the world what I do.” -Elizabeth Avellan
On a personal note, EL MARIACHI inspired us and taught us to make our own movie - modestly and creatively. This amazing woman and the team that worked together on that film changed my life with their film. They changed the game and gave indies power and life. I look very forward to her next project. I hope one day I can find a way to work with and learn from this incredible woman. It's people like this that get me so excited about the industry today. Tomorrow will be a rad day.