Sundance Day 3: Anita Hill & Robert Rodriguez Interviews

day 3 collage

My adventure on Day 3 was being escorted through the back stairs, up three flights to the world famous Egyptian Theatre.  This theatre is known for its most recognizable historic designs and the venue isn’t hard to spot at ground zero on Main Street in downtown Park City Utah.  To the wonderful surprise of all arthouse film archivists, Sundance took a retro twist and decided to shake the old cobwebs off of “El Mariachi”.   The break out film, directed and written by Robert Rodriquez, with help from his long-time pal Carlos Gallardo. If I were to get into a bar fight I would definitely want Robert Rodriquez to be my ride-or-die partner. His grunge attitude would complement the sweat of intensity I wipe from my forehead as I glare across the bar into the eyes of the stereotypical bar-rat-bandit. Interviewing this work of art was something else – his entirely charismatic personality created a seriously light atmosphere. Robert started off like most crazy kids who made something with nothing in underprivileged neighborhoods – “with sticks and stones”, as he says. I remember doing crazy skits with a couple of energetically clever friends, making our own “Rez Diaries” – In one skit, we improvised wild bucking bulls out of “Rez” dogs in our rodeo segments. Speaking with Robert and Carlos was interesting enough, seeing that their relationship was so strong for so long, which reminded me of childhood memories.

In 1993, the film El Mariachi, won the Audience Film Award at the Sundance Film Festival and history and magic was made. The world was introduced to the wonderful vision of Robert Rodriguez who cast his high school friend, Carlos Gallardo, in the role of “El Mariachi”. Fast forward 20 years and cult and iconic status and Sundance unveils El Mariachi out of its “collection” vault for a special screening and On Native Ground was there to interview Robert Rodriquez and Carlos Gallardo. Enjoy the interview.

Braunwyn Walsh interviews Anita Hill at the Red Carpet Premiere of “Anita”

Despite the mild feeling of stomach flu, I just so happened to muscle through the waves of exciting crowds and heavy cacophonies of noise while conducting seriously fascinating interviews with amazing women from well before my time. It didn’t take long for me to swallow the amount of courage a woman would need (especially a woman of color) to go against the grain and baseless accusations and fight for truth. Knowing that this courage came from the love and strength from her family and support lines was also empowering. However, it was a huge moment for myself in realizing that she has paved the way for sexual harassment victims through tedious days of grueling investigation, testimonies, and not to mention all of the public attention. What awes me is that it didn’t phase her, she knew what she had seen and wasn’t afraid to speak out against the violence. Today our youth needs sexual harassment relief efforts more than ever – VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) had been on standstill for almost 2 years now – Either you are in a position to protect sexual harassment victims or the perpetrators and the violence against these women and men.

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