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Hollywood 'hit man' Carlos Gallardo heads for Tyneside

Carlos Gallardo who starred in El Mariachi is to share tips with young film-makers at Tyneside Cinema

Carlos Gallardo in cult action movie El Mariachi
Carlos Gallardo in cult action movie El Mariachi

On screen he has played some dangerous dudes but Hollywood star Carlos Gallardo will be on Tyneside tomorrow to educate rather than wreak havoc.

As he delivers a masterclass called How to Make a Micro-Budget Film & Sell It, the only bodies he will be counting will be those of aspiring film-makers who have come to learn.

Gallardo has proved he can walk the walk as well as talk the talk.

He shot his most famous film, El Mariachi, for just $7,000 in his home town of Ciudad Acuña, Mexico.

Released in 1992, it went on to win the prestigious audience award at the Sundance film festival and also launched the careers of both Gallardo and his friend, director Robert Rodriguez.

The film, which became a cult hit in the action genre, is often attributed as having redefined the independent film industry.


In it Gallardo plays the aspiring musician – mariachi – who gets mistaken for a ruthless escaped criminal with a guitar case full of guns. After being chased through the streets, el mariachi proves he is not averse to a bit of shooting – purely in self defence, of course.

Gallardo and Rodriguez went on to produce Desperado, starring Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek, and Once Upon as Time in Mexico, in which the stars were joined by Johnny Depp and Mickey Rourke. Both films are characterised by epic exchanges of fire.

Today at the Tyneside Cinema Gallardo will help to deliver an intensive masterclass covering topics including screen writing, raising finance, casting, production, post-production, sales and distribution.

The star, who has said that he fantasised about entering the “marvellous dream world” of the cinema from the age of six, has promised to pass on a few industry secrets to help other determined dreamers follow in his footsteps.

Gallardo’s masterclass has been organised by independent UK film-maker Intense Productions whose managing director Chee Keong Cheung will also speak at the event.

Mr Cheung, who has worked with leading film industry names, said: “It’s an incredible honour for us to be able to bring Carlos over to the UK.

“I’m very excited filmmakers both established and up-and-coming will have the chance to hear and learn from Carlos’ vast experience in the industry.

“It is an incredibly competitive business we are in and I believe it is important to share knowledge and to help film-makers coming into the industry.”

Mr Cheung’s company is currently working on an action/horror film called Zombie Apocalypse on which Carlos Gallardo will be executive producer along with Kevin Eastman, co-creator of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Also speaking tomorrow will be Mark Strange, an actor, producer and martial arts expert from Lancashire.

The masterclass is supported by UK Trade & Investment which works with UK busineses to ensure their success in markets overseas.

North East regional director David Coppock said: “This is an amazing opportunity for the region’s film-makers to learn from the experts on all aspects of making feature films and taking them to the global market.”


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