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Catching Up With Actor Freddy Rodriguez

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Thanks to a New FilmmakersLA screening earlier this year, we caught the short film “Mediation,” which stars veteran actor Freddy Rodriguez (Six Feet Under, Ugly Betty). It turns out that the dark comedy was the first production from Rodiguez’s own Top Rebel Productions.

"Mediation" focuses on a divorce mediation that goes completely off the rails between the character played by Freddy Rodriguez and his soon-to-be ex-wife (Marley Shelton). Caught in the figurative (and literal) crossfire is court-appointed mediator (Marilyn Sanabria).

Written and directed by Top Rebel’s Francisco Lorite and produced by Rodriguez and their partner Bill Winett, the short came together after a larger deal fell through. “Franciso and I were scheduled to do a film together that he wrote and directed about five years ago, and it fell apart. And we lost a substantial amount of money,” Rodriguez said during a recent phone interview. “Through that whole experience we’ve remain friends and realized that we share the same views, particularly in terms of filmmaking.”

The three decided to create “Mediation” in addition to the requisite business cards and stationery orders that go along with the creation of new companies. “We would do it as a calling card to show the industry who we are as a company and the types of projects we want to do,” Rodriguez added.

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The short film unpacks tension, emotion and violence in its 14 minutes. It’s been making its way at short film screenings in L.A. and New York, and Top Rebel is hoping to make some festival rounds as well. “There are different avenues for the short to be seen,” Rodriguez said. “The film festivals being the first platform, then there’s the Internet, social media….”

There’s also the possibility that their short film could be expanded as Rodriguez points to one of his favorite examples: “District 9 [by Neill Blomkamp] was a short originally that was made in to a full-length feature.”

After years as a successful actor in the business—especially in his breakthrough role as mortician Federico Diaz in HBO’s Six Feet Under to a more recent and memorable turn as a homeless junkie Idaho in CBGB—Rodiguez wants more.

But that’s not to say that Rodriguez is hanging up his acting career. On the contrary, he’s completed work on the upcoming feature film Fort Bliss with Michelle Monaghan, Emmanuelle Chriqui and Pablo Schreiber as well as the NBC-TV show The Night Shift, which is a possible mid-season series for the network.

“I’ve been making movies and television shows for a long time, and I felt it was time for me to apply what everything that I’ve learned throughout the years in a producorial fashion.”

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Catch more short films like "Mediation," at the next New FilmmakersLA screening on Saturday (March 22).

MEDIATION (30 second trailer) from Top Rebel Productions on Vimeo.