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Positive representation of Texas? A scene from Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused. PHOTO COURTESY DETOUR FILMPRODUCTION POLO’ CALINTELLIG STANDARDS DEPT. The Wrong Texas? SEE Rodriguez’s Cinco de Mayo L, trailer at READ an interview with Rodriguez about the Machete trailer at tx1o,com/interview IN MAY 2009, AUSTIN FILMMAKER ROBERT RODRIGUEZ, creator of the blockbuster Spy Kids, hosted a celebra tory press conference at his Troublemaker Studios. As state legislators and Gov. Rick Perry looked on, Rodriguez cheered a new, $62 million incentive pro gram for movies made in Texas using Texas-based crews. The grants reimburse from 5 percent to 15 per cent of production money spent in the state. Now Rodriguez could lose an estimated $2 million in incentives for his latest project because of a 2007 law that denies state funding if films include “inappropriate content or content that portrays Texas or Texans in a negative fashion.” The trouble started on Cinco de Mayo, when Rodriguez released a spoof theatrical trailer for his upcoming film, Machete. Rodriguez meant the gory, over-the-top trailer to satirize anti-immigrant legislation recently passed in Arizona. The trailer shows the titular character aiming a .50-caliber assault rifle anti-immigrant rally in front of the Texas Capitol. It ends with the words, “They just flicked with the wrong Mexican.” The trailer drew return fire from conservative bloggers and Alex Jones, the conspiranoid, Austin-based radio talk show host. “We need to get the funding at the state level stripped out of the film commission if they do not stop this,” Jones said during a recent show. Rodriguez did not return calls, but he told Ain’t It Cool News, where the trailer debuted, that he wasn’t trying to provoke a “race war,” as some critics had suggested. “It’s only because of what’s happened in Arizona that some scenes actually feel at all grounded in reality,” he said, “which is pretty nuts and says more about Arizona than any fictional movie.” Bob Hudgins, director of the Texas Film Commission, reviews initial scripts, then signs off on the movie’s final cut before state funds are released. He says Rodriguez has assured him that the Machete trailer had nothing to do with the film set for release in September. “It’s hard to prejudge whether it’s offensive to Texas because I haven’t seen it yet,” Hudgins said. “I probably won’t see it until August.” In May 2009, a company filming a movie based on the 1993 Branch Davidian raid in Waco accused the film commission of censorship after state aid was 2 THE TEXAS OBSERVER WWW.TEXASOBSERVER.ORG