Phillip Rodriguez is a filmmaker and visiting fellow at the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism.
Rodriguez's most recent documentary, RACE 2012, premiered on PBS on October 16, 2012. RACE 2012, A PBS Election Special, uses the current presidential election as a lens through which to explore America's rapidly changing racial landscape. Fast-moving and non-partisan, RACE 2012 draws insights on racial political history from analysts, strategists and activists on both sides of the aisle, including author/legal scholar Randall Kennedy, author Rich Benjamin, Tea Party activist Ana Puig, former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, journalist Ronald Brownstein, and many others.
Rodriguez's previous projects include Latinos '08, which looks at these new Americans through the prism of the 2008 presidential election, exploring how Latinos will impact not just this election but American politics for decades to come. The New York Times said the film "isn't afraid to turn conventional wisdom on its head." The Washington Post called it "higher truth-telling....Director Phillip Rodriguez knows his way around this territory of ironies and pieties layered upon an undeniably real demographic bedrock." The San Diego Union Tribune editorial board described the film as "masterful." The project was made possible by PBS, CPB, LPB, the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Southwest Airlines.
Rodriguez' previous projects include Brown is the New Green: George Lopez and the American Dream, a one-hour documentary for PBS on Hispanic marketing and media featuring comedian George Lopez. Winner of the 2008 Imagen award for Best Documentary, syndicated columnist Ruben Navarrette wrote that Brown is the New Green makes PBS "look better after working with Rodriguez." The project was made possible by ITVS, PBS, CPB, LPB, USC Annenberg School for Communication and Southwest Airlines.
Rodriguez' PBS documentary, Los Angeles Now (2004), investigates the "browning" of America's second-largest city. Newsday said that the film, "reveals L.A. for what it really is: the most multicultural city in the world and, possibly, a blueprint for the future of the United States." The film has been honored by Centre Georges Pompidou, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Harvard Film Archives, MOCA Los Angeles New York, Anthology Film Archives, INPUT 2005, Boston Fine Arts Museum, and others. The project was made possible by ITVS, Independent Lens, PBS, CPB, LPB, Loyola Marymount University and The Skirball Foundation.
Rodriguez' other works include the critically acclaimed Mixed Feelings: San Diego/Tijuana (2002). This film uses the urban landscapes of neighboring cities to comment on contrasting conditions and attitudes in the U.S. and Mexico. The New York Times praised the film's "snappy digital imagery"; The Los Angeles Times called it "transnational fun, with a point."
Rodriguez' work includes Manuel Ocampo: God is My Copilot, a reconsideration of multiculturalism in the contemporary art world. The film, which features Dennis Hopper, Julian Schnabel, and other notable art world figures, was celebrated at film festivals worldwide including the Los Angeles AFI International Festival, the Hawaii International Film Festival, the Biennale Internationale du film sur l'art at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, and the Havana Film Festival. The Chicago Reader said the film "belongs with the best of the genre."
Pancho Villa & Other Stories won an award for best documentary at the 2000 San Antonio Cinefestival and has been honored at the Smithsonian National Gallery, The New York Latino Film and Video Festival, Chicago Latino Film Festival, Los Angeles International Latino Film Festival, San Francisco Cine Festival, Hawaii International Film Festival, and the XV Festival de Cine Latino Americano, Trieste, Italy.
Rodriguez' production company, City Projects, also conducted My City Now, an interactive media literacy program for high school students in U.S. cities impacted by high rates of immigration.
A graduate of U.C. Berkeley, Rodriguez has an M.A. in Latin American Studies (Honors) and an M.F.A. in Film and Television from UCLA. He also studied Art History and Spanish Literature at Universidad Cumplutense de Madrid. He is a former Senior Research Fellow for The Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University. Rodriguez received the first annual USA Broad Fellow Award. This annual award, made by United States Artists (USA), honors the country's finest living artists.