“i love how you can make a career by breaking all the rules.”

by liza darwin

Robert Rodriguez is the first to tell you that he's living in a fantasy world. But according to the Austin director, that's not a bad thing at all. With mega movie hits under his belt (Spy Kids, Sin City, and Once Upon a Time in Mexico, to name a few), now he's taking his famous imagination one step further with a brand-new animation studio and a chance for aspiring directors to get in on the action, too.

At the AMD SXSW party last night, the cowboy hat-wearing multi-hyphenate told us about his exciting new project, all-time favorite movies, and why he's obsessed with thinking outside the box.

Hi Robert! You're based here in Austin, and I can see why you like it so much. Yes, I've made my career on keeping everything kind of local here. I'm all about using local talent, editors, writers...that's what I love, and that's why my studios are based here.

What are you doing now? Today I'm here to announce my newest project, actually. I've teamed up with AMD on a new animation studio here in Austin. It's called Quicksilver Productions, and it's what I've wanted to do for a while. I've been dying to do CGI animation but in a company that's self-contained...I want to do everything in-house.

Why animation? I'm always inspired by that idea that everything that can be pure fantasy. In many ways all of my projects are unreal, from Sin City to Spy Kids. I love how you can make a career out of breaking all the rules. I don't really base anything in reality [laughing]. I'm working on two movies right now with the studio- one is a family, Pixar-style film and the other is a bit older. The adult film is based on the '80s movie Heavy Metal.

I always watch Sin City when it's on TV. What's your ultimate go-to movie? I have a huge list! The one that's shaped me the most, from when I was a kid to where I am now has go to be Escape to New York. John Carpenter directed it and he has inspired me in so many ways.

The film industry is changing so much. What advice do you have for aspiring filmmakers? Don't restrict yourself or your story ideas. AMD and I have teamed on a contest where we're looking for young, emerging filmmakers. You can win a trip to Austin, tools to help you get started, and a mentorship from me.

You said it's for young filmmakers. How old is too old? Wait, I take that back [laughing]. You can be 12 or you can be 60. Age is just a number!