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"The flyest history lesson since Hamilton."
- Remezcla

 
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 the life of Oscar Zeta Acosta

a.k.a The Brown Buffalo

a.k.a Dr. Gonzo.

In May of 1974, Oscar Zeta Acosta disappeared off the Pacific Coast of Mexico and was never heard from again. Immortalized as the “300-pound Samoan” Dr. Gonzo in Hunter S. Thompson’s cult novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, the 39-year- old Acosta had already left an enviable legacy: two critically praised novels, a high-profile turn as lead attorney for LA’s Chicano movement, a quixotic run for L.A. County Sheriff, and innumerable feats of radical activism-cum- performance art.

Yet, while Acosta’s mysterious disappearance sent shockwaves through the counterculture that had embraced him, his larger-than- life legacy soon faded tragically from memory – relegated, at best, to a supporting player in Thompson’s literary universe. The Rise and Fall of the Brown Buffalo rescues Acosta from obscurity, exploring the man’s personal and creative evolution against the backdrop of a society in turmoil, laying bare his brilliance, his contradictions, and his unique contribution to American society.

To learn more, visit PhillipRodriguez.co.

 

CREDITS

LEAD CREW CREDITS:

Director/Producer/Writer:  Phillip Rodriguez

Cinematographer/Editor/Animator:  Claudio Rocha

Writer: David Ventura

Executive Producer: Benicio Del Toro

Producer:  Alison Sotomayor

Associate Producer: Ricardo López

Original Music by: Alejandro Cohen & Aaron Drake

 

LEAD CAST CREDITS:

Jesse Celedon (Oscar Zeta Acosta)

Jeff Harms (Hunter S. Thompson)

FESTIVALS

SCREENINGS

SUPPORT

Major funding by:

LIBRARY REVIEWS

★★★1/2

"Highly recommended"

"The result is not only a clever Citizen Kane-type composite portrait of a complex, fallible figure in identity politics, but also a more successful transliteration of gonzo journalism than Terry Gilliam's 1998 film adaptation of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas."

 - Video Librarian 

Libraries and Educational Institutions can purchase the DVD here:

PRESS

 

"The flyest history lesson since Hamilton."
-
Remezcla

"Astonishing" 
"A Must See Film"
 

- Salon

"Brilliant, original and genre-bending" "It isn't typical PBS fare
(welcome young people)."

- Latino Rebels

"Remarkable, informs, entertains, filling your mind with challenging, provocative ideas."
- Sacramento Bee

"Fascinating" 
- NBC News

"Genre-defying"
- L.A. Taco

"Larger than life"
 People Magazine

 
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The Cap Times: Annual fundraiser at Centro Hispano encourages action, celebration in a time of crisis for Latinos

June 21, 2018

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Wort 89.9: “The Rise And Fall Of The Brown Buffalo”

June 18, 2018

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Hammer to Nail: THE RISE AND FALL OF THE BROWN BUFFALO

May 23, 2018

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Imperial Valley Press: SDSU-IV to Screen ' Brown Buffalo' Documentary

April 24, 2018

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Critics at Large: Me In Particular: The Reappearance of Oscar Z. Acosta

April 20, 2018

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La Bloga: Chicanonautica: The Brown Buffalo Rises Again

April 12, 2018

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LatinHeat: “The Rise and Fall of the Brown Buffalo” on PBS

April 1, 2018

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The Sacramento Bee: He was immortalized by Hunter S. Thompson for the wrong reasons. Now hear his story

March 25, 2018
 

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TwoOhSix.com: The Rise and Fall of the Brown Buffalo - Documentary Review

March 24, 2018
 

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Texas Standard: New Film Tells the Story of Oscar Zeta Acosta, Hunter S. Thompson's 'Dr. Gonzo'

March 24, 2018
 

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Univision 34 Los Angeles: La polémica vida de ‘Zeta’ Acosta, el abogado que desapareció en Sinaloa hace 44 años

March 24, 2018
 

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Brooklyn & Boyle: Oscar Zeta Acosta Lives! A Brown Buffalo Resurrection

March 24, 2018
 

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The Prospector: Benicio Del Toro features El Paso Chicano movement lawyer

March 23, 2018
 

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El Paso Times: Chicano activist Oscar 'Zeta' Acosta featured in Downtown El Paso mural, PBS documentary

March 23, 2018
 

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Albuquerque Journal: ‘Brown buffalo’: Documentary sheds new light on Chicano author, lawyer Acosta

March 23, 2018
 

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LA TACO: THE RISE AND FALL OF OSCAR ZETA ACOSTA: WHAT HAPPENED TO THE ‘BROWN BUFFALO’? 

March 23, 2018
 

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Latino Rebels: PBS Documentary ‘The Rise and Fall of the Brown Buffalo’ Takes BIG Storytelling Risk… And Scores

March 23, 2018
 

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NBC News: Documentary on 'Dr. Gonzo' captures Oscar Zeta Acosta's wild ride

March 23, 2018
 

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American Jesuit Review: The return of the Chicano activist Brown Buffalo

March 23, 2018
 

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KPCC Take Two: Documentary features true story of Chicano civil rights leader

March 22, 2018

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Beyond Chron: "The Rise and Fall of the Brown Buffalo" Review

March 22, 2018
 

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Salon.com: Hear the real Dr. Gonzo roar: Astonishing new PBS doc celebrates Oscar Zeta Acosta

March 22, 2018
 

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People Chica: New PBS Documentary Revisits the Life of Chicano Lawyer and Activist Oscar Acosta

March 22, 2018
 

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Aspen Daily News: ‘Brown Buffalo’ actor Jeff Harms considered Thompson role ‘eye opening’

March 22, 2018
 

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Los Angeles Times: How 'brown buffalo' Oscar Acosta, best known as Hunter Thompson's Dr. Gonzo, inspired his own TV doc

March 21, 2018
 

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The San Diego Union Tribune: Nueva película trata de la vida del activista chicano Óscar 'Zeta' Acosta

March 21, 2018
 

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The New York Times: Erratic Chicano Writer Who Vanished Focus of New Documentary

March 20, 2018
 

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Remezcla: This Documentary Chronicles the Life of Oscar Acosta, the Real-Life Dr. Gonzo from ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’

March 19, 2018
 

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PASADENA ART & SCIENCE BEAT: The Rise and Fall of the Brown Buffalo’: Docudrama about Oscar Zeta Acosta

March 17, 2018
 

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La Bloga: LA Plaza Hosts Premiere of Brown Buffalo Documentary.

March 13, 2018
 

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NPR: The Best Latinx Films Of 2017 Won't Win An Oscar. They Weren't Even Nominated

March 2, 2018
 

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Variety: Benicio del Toro Joins ‘Rise and Fall of the Brown Buffalo’ as Exec Producer 

February 19, 2018
 

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Colorlines: WATCH: New Doc Explores Life and Disappearance of Oscar Zeta Acosta

"The Rise and Fall of the Brown Buffalo" follows the Chicano Movement activist's battle against the Los Angeles Police Department.

February 13, 2018

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Los Angeles Times: OC Film Fiesta strives to entertain and inspire action

A number of unique screenings, special guests and entertaining events are in the works
September 29, 2017
 

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48hills: Oscar Acosta, Chicano revolutionary, finally gets his historical due

Documentary takes a serious look at a brilliant, troubled leader who has been largely eclipsed by his friendship with Hunter Thompson
September 15, 2017
 

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KPFA Radio: El Show de Andrés Soto

Interview with Phillip Rodriguez
September 7, 2017
 

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KQED Arts: But Seriously, Folks

Six Films and Festivals to Catch this Fall
September 5, 2017
 

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Aspen Daily News: Local photographers contribute to ‘Brown Buffalo’ documentary

Krueger, Hiser send images of Thompson sidekick Acosta
July 3, 2017
 

STREAM THE FILM

Students and academics can stream the film for free through Kanopy.

Click here to see if you have access through your educational institution or library.