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Acosta had a presence in the Roaring Fork Valley, especially during Thompson’s campaign for Pitkin County sheriff in 1970. Though he gained some notoriety via his relationship with Thompson, he was best known — or at least should have been — as a Chicano activist in Los Angeles. After Thompson profiled him in a 1971 Rolling Stone article titled, “Strange Rumblings in Atzlan,” Acosta, twice married, twice divorced, found himself on the outs with the Chicano community.

That his legacy is so based upon his relationship with Thompson is both a shame and a disservice to Acosta, said Rodriguez, founder of Los Angeles-based City Projects, a video production company whose films and educational programs challenge ideas about race and diversity in America.

Rodriguez’s previous documentaries, which have appeared in prime time on HBO and PBS, include “Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle,” which won best documentary at the 2014 San Antonio CineFestival and the 2014 Denver XicanIndie Festival, and “RACE 2012: A Conversation About Race and Politics in America,” which was awarded a 2013 CINE Golden Eagle Award in the best televised news category.

He decided to set his creative sights on Acosta. The film, which premiered last fall at a couple of film festivals in California, was underwritten in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Longtime local photographers Bob Krueger and David Hiser contributed images to the project.

“I do not minimize Acosta’s relationship with Thompson,” Rodriguez said last summer by telephone from his SoCal home. “Most people know him through that engagement. Those two cats were kindred spirits. After Oscar had a divorce and a breakdown, he went in search of himself. Instead, he found Thompson in a bar in Aspen.”

The relationship, according to Rodriguez, was volatile and influenced both Thompson and Acosta clear up until the man caricatured in “Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas” disappeared in Mazatlan, Mexico, in 1974, never to be heard from again and presumed dead.

“There was so much more to Oscar than his relationship with Thompson,” Rodriguez said. “He was a writer and an activist. He was influential. While Thompson’s campaign for sheriff in Aspen garnered a lot of publicity, few people know that Oscar ran for sheriff in Los Angeles County right after the Watts race riots. And he ran on a platform of disbanding the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, which put him in the crosshairs of one of the country’s most brutal and corrupt police departments. Oscar wasn’t running in some ski resort in Colorado. Hunter got the idea to run for sheriff of Pitkin County from Oscar’s failed attempt in L.A.”

Acosta, who worked as a civil rights attorney, was, after being tailed and surveilled, subsequently arrested by the same sheriff’s department he wanted to disband and charged with possession of amphetamines. He was found not guilty. Not a single member of the Chicano movement he had fought so hard for attended his trial.

“Their relationship was not just about drinking and ingesting illegal drugs, though there was certainly a lot of that,” Rodriguez said. “They corresponded a great deal, and those correspondences were deep. They also had some big battles. He once told Hunter, ‘You’re just a writer; I’m a revolutionary.’ He challenged Hunter’s masculinity. They had a love/hate brotherly rivalry.”