By Donna Parker
Bill Molina ’84 is an award-winning Hollywood cinematographer who toiled on film and episodic television shows such as Beverly Hills 90210, but now he is focused on ZIP codes closer to his Texas roots.
A recent winner of the Worldfest Houston Film Festival Platinum Remi Award for his feature documentary Truth be Tolled, Bill tellsthe story of foreign companies poised to make a fortune off the Trans-Texas Corridor and by charging tolls on existing Texas roadways already paid for by taxpayers.
“I never saw myself as a political activist. I just got really tired of seeing the direction our country is taking. When this issue of tolling our existing roads without a public vote came up, I got involved – not as a filmmaker – but as a concerned taxpaying citizen. There is a story to be told here not only about the double taxation of our roads but more importantly the TTC and the largest forcible eminent domain acquisition in U.S. history.”
Last year, Bill attended a public meeting on a proposed San Antonio toll road and noticed no one from the TV press was reporting on the debate or the other obvious toll issues.
“I picked up a video camera and started shooting these public meetings and became more annoyed that there was little or no press coverage. At one meeting, there were 800 people and I was the only one documenting the event with a camera. I ended up producing a documentary in order to share the truth with the public.”
Bill is currently retooling the film for a premiere in San Antonio later this month.
“My entire focus right now is this documentary. I’ve put my career on hold to produce this film. This is something for which people need to wake up and get involved. What’s at stake is far more than just a toll road.”
Always passionate about filmmaking, Bill also minored in speech and drama while at Trinity and credits several professors who served as mentors and jump started his career path.
“Steve Gilliam, department of speech and drama, was a great influence because he was very concerned about his students and gave us artistic freedom to be ourselves and accomplish what we could. Also, my advisor, David Thomas, department of communication, was instrumental in encouraging me to finish my first student film, Revelation, which was honored by the AMPAS (Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences) student competition, leading the way to University Film and Video grant for my next film project.”
Bill says the turning point in his professional life in Hollywood was directing his first feature film Where Truth Lies, starring his idol, Malcolm McDowell.
“That was a trip in itself…to have Alex sitting in my car discussing Kubrick’s Clockwork Orange.”
The other star was Kim Cattrall (of Sex and the City fame) and Bill almost blew that first meeting when he got caught in traffic, showed up late, and then couldn’t produce his wallet to pay for the dinner.
“I walked out of the restaurant thinking my career was over, but Kim called back within an hour and agreed to do the movie,” laughs Bill.
“Although I’m still star struck by Hollywood, I know that there are so many other important issues in the world and I just needed to produce a film that would actually make a difference.”
You may contact Bill at the following email address:
For more information on his documentary, Truth be Tolled: