February 21, 2018 (Los Angeles, CA) — Benicio Del Toro has joined the documentary, THE RISE AND FALL OF THE BROWN BUFFALO, as Executive Producer. Directed by Phillip Rodriguez, the film is a genre-defying look at the life of Oscar Zeta Acosta: a firebrand Chicano lawyer, writer, activist, and the real-life inspiration behind Hunter S. Thompson’s Dr. Gonzo.
Del Toro made waves for his interpretation of Dr. Gonzo in director Terry Gilliam’s 1998 cult smash film FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS before going on to win the Academy Award for his role in TRAFFIC (2000). In addition to his acclaimed acting work, Del Toro is also known for executive producing award-winning indie hits like 2007’s LOVESICKNESS and 2015’s VIVA.
“We are ecstatic to have Benicio nurturing this project in his role as executive producer,” director Phillip Rodriguez effused. “Few people can speak to Acosta’s humanity and complexity like Benicio, who interpreted him for the big screen with such brilliance. It’s really a natural fit.”
Timely and topical, THE RISE AND FALL OF THE BROWN BUFFALO is a psychedelic journey into the life and work of Oscar Zeta Acosta that weaves archival footage with dramatized recreations and interviews. In addition to its fascinating biographical portrait, the film explores issues of racial identity, criminal justice, politics, and media representation that defined Acosta’s legacy. Ultimately, THE RISE AND FALL OF THE BROWN BUFFALO reveals the personal story of a troubled and brilliant man coming to terms with his identity and finding meaning in the struggles of his people.
THE RISE AND FALL OF THE BROWN BUFFALO premieres Friday, March 23, 2018, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET (check local listings) as a VOCES special on PBS.
Major funding for THE RISE AND FALL OF THE BROWN BUFFALO provided by The Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Additional funding provided by Latino Public Broadcasting and California Humanities. The film is produced by Rodriguez’s Los Angeles-based production company, City Projects, LLC.
About the Filmmaker
Phillip Rodriguez (Director/Producer/Writer) is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and veteran content provider for PBS. His films bring to light the complexities of Latino culture, history, and identity at a time when our nation’s demographics reflect unprecedented growth in the Latino community and the concomitant demand for relevant storytelling. Rodriguez’s investigative documentary Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle explores the life and mysterious death of the pioneering journalist and won Best Documentary at the 2014 San Antonio CineFestival and the 2014 Denver XicanIndie Festival. RACE 2012: A Conversation About Race and Politics in America was awarded a 2013 CINE Golden Eagle Award in the Best Televised News Division – Informational/Current Issue category. Latinos ’08 received a 2009 CINE Golden Eagle Award for Best News Analysis. Brown is the New Green: George Lopez and the American Dream was awarded the 2008 Imagen Award for Best TV Documentary. Rodriguez’s other critically acclaimed films include Los Angeles Now, Mixed Feelings: San Diego/Tijuana, Manuel Ocampo: God is My Copilot, and Pancho Villa & Other Stories. In 2006, Rodriguez received the first annual United States Artists Broad Fellow Award. This annual award honors the country’s most accomplished and innovative artists. A graduate of U.C. Berkeley, he has an M.A. in Latin American Studies (Honors) and an M.F.A. in Film and Television from UCLA. His fellowships have included Senior Fellow at The Dorothy Leavy Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University, Fellow for Documentary Filmmaking at the Institute for Justice and Journalism at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, and Senior Fellow at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.