When director Robert Rodriguez isn’t making epic science-fiction features like Alita: Battle Angel or virtual reality shorts like The Limit, he’s fostering a new wave of independent filmmakers. Last year he created Rebel Without a Crew: The Series, a reality show inspired by his own filmmaking journey wherein a group of prospective directors are tasked with making a movie for just $7,000. It’s a lot harder than it sounds. One of the directors, Mexican American Alejandro Montoya Marin, created a feature titled Monday, and its first trailer shows you how far $7,000 can stretch.
Monday tells the story of Jim, a corporate stooge who’s fired and dumped on the same day. Through a series of unexplained events, he ends up being tasked with killing someone. Considering this was a short film expanded into a feature, it’s no surprise that the plot is incredibly simple and explained within seconds. We see Jim as an average slacker who only has his mom to provide him comfort. Somehow he ends up being coerced by two leggy female assassins to commit a murder — from there, it’s a rapid-fire series of edits that lead to exploding cars, gunplay and sex. The trailer emphasizes the film’s Rebel Without a Crew origins. It shows Rodriguez’s name and the show’s logo, as well as reiterates that the film was shot for just $7,000. There’s also a heavy emphasis on the soundtrack that includes music from The Black Kids, Mother Feather and Harlem.
The trailer is spoiler-free, but it’s amazing to see how polished the movie is considering it was put together on a minuscule budget (by Hollywood standards), with no crew and in 14 days. Rodriguez is certainly paying it forward by giving a hand-up to indie filmmakers, many of whom come from marginalized communities. There’s room for so many different stories in Hollywood and it’s time to start taking notice.
Monday premiered on El Rey in February.