Premieres Tuesday, March 27 at 7pm on NMPBS

A Look at the Unorthodox Life and Complex Legacy of Oscar Zeta Acosta: The Chicano Movement’s Forgotten Activist Hero, Attorney and Literary Celebrity.

THE RISE AND FALL OF THE BROWN BUFFALO is a fresh and genre-defying hour-long film about the life of radical Chicano lawyer, author and countercultural icon, Oscar Zeta Acosta — the basis for the character Dr. Gonzo in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, written by his friend, legendary journalist-provocateur Hunter S. Thompson. Filmmaker Phillip Rodriguez brings Acosta to life by employing a cinematic style as unorthodox as his subject: weaving archival footage and images with dramatized portrayals of Acosta, Thompson, and other key figures and moments of the era. The script is culled from Acosta and Thompson’s writings and interviews, as well as letters, journalistic and personal accounts. The resulting film brings narrative style to documentary filmmaking and paints a portrait of a fascinating, complex and enigmatic man.
Relevant now more than ever, THE RISE AND FALL OF THE BROWN BUFFALO explores issues of racial identity, criminal justice, politics and media representation, while revealing the personal story of a troubled and brilliant man coming to terms with his identity and finding meaning in the struggles of his people.
Along with the broadcast airing, NMPBS will hold 3 Open House screenings of the film, followed by discussions of the issues raised in it.


Visit an Open House Screening


Wednesday, March 21 – Together For Brothers Event
The Leadership Circle at Simms Space
400 Gold Ave SW, 7th Floor
Time: 6:30pm - 8:30pm


Thursday, April 5 – National Hispanic Cultural Center, Bank of America Theatre
1701 4th St SW, Albuquerque, NM 87102
Time: 7pm
Accompanying the film will be a discussion by National Hispanic Cultural Center staff about upcoming events and exhibits, including: the Art Museum exhibit: Because It’s Time: Unraveling Race and Place in New Mexico, Recuerda a Cesar Chavez Festival and a photo exhibit curated by Humans of New Mexico: People Powered: New Mexicans and Social Movements. Part of the Bank of America Free Thursday Film Series.


Gustavo Arellano

Saturday, May 5 – KNME Studios
In partnership with the New Mexico chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
1130 University Blvd NE, Albuquerque 87012
Time: 10am – Noon
Discussion moderated by AP reporter Russell Contreras with UNM Cultural Studies Professor Myra Washington, NM Dream Team Organizer Felipe Rodriguez and Gustavo Arellano. Refreshments will be served.

Major funding for THE RISE AND FALL OF THE BROWN BUFFALO provided by The Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Additional funding provided by Latino Public Broadcasting and California Humanities. The film is produced by Rodriguez’s Los Angeles-based production company, City Projects, LLC.