Mars Volta Star Directs Feature Film
While The Sentimental Engine Slayer is not his first venture as a director -- he also created two unreleased films, 2001's A Manual Dexterity and 2003's Letters from Dystopia -- it is his first feature released to the public. Made on a relatively small budget using money borrowed from a close friend and Rodriguez Lopez's parents, the cast and crew worked diligently on location in El Paso, TX to bring the project to fruition.
The Sentimental Engine Slayer tells the tale of the overdue coming of age of a 20-something misfit named Barlam (played by Omar Rodriguez Lopez). Set against the backdrop of drug-addled suburban El Paso sometime in the not-too-distant future, Barlam's awkward transition from boy to man is as much the story of struggling to find one's essence in a world of stereotypes as it is an indictment of the distorted reality of family life in the disengaged 21st Century.
Omar Rodriguez Lopez is an intensely prolific Grammy-winning recording artist whose genre-defying, fifteen-year career has resulted in some 35 albums. His seminal and critically acclaimed band, At the Drive-In, redefined popular rock music at the end of the last decade. Since that time, in addition to being both a solo artist and leader/composer/producer of the The Mars Volta, Rodriguez Lopez has produced groundbreaking recordings for the likes of Juliette Lewis and collaborated with Hans Zimmer, John Frusciante, and Erykah Badu, to name a few. In the early years of the new millennium, Rodriguez Lopez began filmmaking, familiarizing himself with the process by way of producing two unreleased films (2001's A Manual Dexterity and 2003's Letters from Dystopia) in lieu of any formal training. His third film, The Sentimental Engine Slayer, is the director's debut feature release. Despite a virtually continuous commitment to the process of recording and touring with his various bands, Rodriguez Lopez has managed to complete two more films since principal production on The Sentimental Engine Slayer wrapped in 2007; El Divino Influjo De Los Secretos (2008) and Boiling Death Request (2009) are both currently in post-production.