by Courtesy Photo

This summer a new film hit hotels all over the United States- Made In Mexico written and directed by a Chula Vista born and raised Rodney Rinks. The film is a blend of comedy and real life insight that features Joe, a down-on-his luck father of three, who has Hollywood buzzing over his screenplay. His dreams are short lived when a pair of shady film makers con him out of the rights and he has no choice but to join forces with an unlikely partner, a drug lord who has plans of his own for this upcoming screenwriter.The epic adventures that Joe undergoes bring to life relatable experiences that reveal the cultural heritage of Mexicans in America, with its folklore and modern complications. Through an engaging storyline this fun and ingenious film invites us to think deeper into what really matters in life. Born and raised in Chula Vista, Rodney makes it a point to recruit local talent for his cast, like Christina Bebés Murguia and Pauli Ramirez, both San Diego based.

The mastermind behind this film, Rodney Rinks, is a Chula Vista born who has deep roots in the South Bay that go way back to the Mexican revolution. Rodney is the great grandson of Mexican legend Pedro J. Gonzalez. Born in Chihuahua, Mexico, Pedro took part in the Mexican Revolution as a telegraph operator for General Francisco Villa before migrating to the United States. He was a composer and social activist who settled in Los Angeles,  he became a pioneer of hispanic music in the United States. As a charismatic radio personality he used his air time not only to entertain the Latino field workers and community, but to advocate for them and voice the injustices done unto them. He became very powerful, therefore the network producers and the government wanted him to stop, but he did not allow it. Unable to terminate him legally, they framed him for raping a girl that he didn’t even know. Eventually the woman came forward confirming that he had been framed, but it took a presidential intervention to set him free from the San Quentin prison after six years of being unfairly detained. In 1970 he returned to California and settled in San Ysidro, where he was received as a hero. There is a mural in his honor at Chicano Park.

The spirit of Pedro J. Gonzalez has lived on in the heart and soul of Rodney Rinks, his own journey took him to Los Angeles as well, his path is his own. While his road to Hollywood has been a straight line with many loops, one thing is clear, he has always known the direction of his dreams even if life has a way to test his resolve again and again. He began his dream as a make-up artist when Steve Harvey took him in thanks to his work ethic and professionalism. As he continued to make a name for himself in this field, he took the time to learn everything about producing films. With some amateur acting under his belt, and with the friendships he had developed over the years, he began to work on small projects as a screenwriter and actor. With the support of his friends in the media, including Mario Lopez, also from Chula Vista, he launched a web series in 2009, when the internet was picking up. He knew that the internet was a place where they could put their content with a shoestring budget. Although his friends were skeptical they ended up filming the series “The Good Life” featuring a group of mobsters. Using his creativity and resourcefulness he completed 8 episodes for under one thousand dollars. In the middle of his journey he became a father, and then a father of twins, and faced like all of us, recessions and income highs and lows. Through it all he has kept his eyes fixed on his dreams that are now fast materializing. Thanks to his passion and tenacity he completed Made in Mexico and landed a deal with Byron Allen Folks, a businessman, comedian, television producer, philanthropist, and the head of the U.S. Entertainment Company. A deal like no other, his film was to be distributed to over 800 thousand hotels nationwide generating over 40 million views per month. A concept that seemed odd to him at first drew the attention of top celebrities like Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey who approached Mario Lopez and Rodney at a red carpet event to comment that indeed he had the best gig in Hollywood. This film is now available for purchase to the public.

“We need to keep telling these stories, sticking up for people who can’t speak. If you are a filmmaker you have the obligation to keep telling these stories, especially if you are Pedro J Garcia’s great-grandson.” -Rodney Rinks

The success of this gifted filmmaker is a clear reflection of his contribution to the film industry, one of the largest revenue generating sectors of our country. Without a doubt it helps to continue elevating the quality of the Latino Film industry, which is an integral driver of the Hispanic identity. With the legacy of his great-grandfather, Rodney continues to use his talent to shed light on the social conflicts that plague the Hispanic communities, and his mission has really just begun.   

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