Rene Rhi grew up in the sister cities of Matamoros, Tamaulipas and Brownsville, Texas. After graduating from The University of Texas at Austin with degrees in Journalism and Spanish in 2000, he joined the Cross Border Institute for Regional Development (CBIRD) where he was involved in economic policy and sustainable business development along the US-Mexico border. Rene returned to the University of Texas to pursue a Masters in Media Studies in 2006.
While at UT, his research focused on New Media and Communication Law and Policy, Digital Consumer Behavior and US Latinos and the Media. His 65-page thesis report entitled 'AN INTERACTIVE MODEL: CREATING AND EVALUATING FILM AND TELEVISION CONTENT FOR MINORITIES IN THE UNITED STATES', primary focus is the creation of a detailed framework for the sole purpose of evaluating films and television content to understand and evaluate the different types of ideologies and possible interactions between immigrants and the host society. In 2007, he was hired by the prestigious Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center in San Antonio as the youngest ever director of CineFestival; the oldest Latin film festival in the US.
Through partnerships he forged within the Texas film community, Rene was awarded the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts Scholarship and enrolled in the MFA film program at the University of Southern California. While at USC, he founded the Latino Film Association and concentrated in Motion Picture Production, Finance, Sales & Distribution. Rene was awarded Panavision's New Filmmaker Program and Kodak Student Film Awards in 2011 to shoot his 26-minute Super 16mm thesis film "Bordando La Frontera." The short film screened at more than 100 Film Festivals around the world, won 24 awards and was picked up for international distribution by Shorts HD (The Short Movie Channel).
Wanting to gain more experience on professional movie sets, Rene began working in independent films immediately after graduating from USC starting from the bottom of the ladder as a location production assistant. He worked his way up to Assistant Location Manager, Location Manager, Unit Production Manger, Line Producer, and Producer. He also worked for the American Film Market and Celsius Entertainment; a London-based content sales agency, where he was involved in the International distribution, acquisitions, and financing of independent films.