Art Camacho is one of only a handful of Latin film directors in Hollywood today. He began his career as an actor and performing fight action sequences in several martial arts action films. After having appeared in several films, he went on to choreograph the fight action in films and distinguished himself as one of the top action choreographers in films today with over 50 films and television shows to his credit. He has worked with some of the top martial arts talents around including Steven Seagal, Cynthia Rothrock, Benny Urquidez, Michael Dudikoff, Gary Daniels, and more. Most recently Camacho traveled to Germany where he spent 11 weeks working as the action coordinator on Steven Seagal’s latest film, Half Past Dead for Sony Pictures. Camacho was able to incorporate Seagal’s powerfully fluid Aikido techniques with the more flamboyant Chinese choreography working closely with Hong Kong’s master action choreographer Xin Xin Xiong. He also choreographed and trained rapper Ja Rule for a climactic fight in the film. The feature incorporates much “wire work” so prevalent in today’s Hong Kong style action films. Camacho also directed some second unit on the film and had an acting part as well.
He began his martial arts training in Karate but gravitated towards kung ku. On his way to getting his black belt under kung ku great Eric Lee, he trained in various other methods of martial arts including Kung Fu San Soo, Jeet Kune Do and he was also an amateur boxer.
Camacho was then given the opportunity to direct feature films by a leading independent Production company, PM Entertainment, and found himself as one of the "Promising directors in the action film genre" according to Premier magazine. Camacho's most current works include producing, writing and directing the feature film Final Payback, starring Richard Grieco, John Saxon, Corbin Bernsen and Martin Kove. Camacho also just finished directing Redemption starring James Russo and Chris Penn, and Gangland Featuring Ice T, Coolio, Costas Mandylor, and Sasha Mitchell. Camacho has become one of only a handful of martial artists to make the transition from martial arts action films to mainstream features.
His beginnings were very humble. He grew up in a rough barrio in South East Los Angeles. Being in a rough area he gravitated to the martial arts to survive. Camacho took to cinema to get away from the street gangs while most of his homeboys stayed there. Very early on he wanted to work in motion pictures but didn't know where to start; being Mexican, short and obese didn't help matters any.
In his late teens Camacho began a strict regimen of martial arts, weight training and dieting. He not only lost a lot of weight but he boosted his self esteem as well. Having dropped out of high school at 16, he went back and earned his G.E.D. Camacho worked at numerous odd jobs to make ends meet while taking college courses. He soon found himself working at a Spanish language advertising agency where he was exposed to television commercials.
He started out as a production assistant. In less than a year he worked his way up to producer, director, writer and occasional actor in Spanish language commercials. Shortly thereafter, he opened his own Spanish language marketing firm. He went on to garner praise and awards for his outstanding contributions to the Spanish entertainment industry. After having produced and directed numerous Spanish language commercials, he made the transition to work in feature films.
Camacho began as an actor working in local theater productions and bit parts on television shows. He then landed leads in a few independent feature films. These films not only featured his acting skills, but his martial arts prowess as well. Shortly thereafter he found steady employment as a screen fighter then became world renowned for his fight choreography and fight directing. He was soon dubbed "The Fight master" by the leading Martial Arts magazines.
No sooner had he made the transition to directing features that he took on the daunting task of directing two children's feature films back to back. The films Little Bigfoot and its sequel The Journey Home proved that Camacho had a very good touch with combining drama and comedy. The Journey Home starred Tom Bosley, Taran Noah Smith (Home Improvement), Michael Fishman (Roseanne) and Stephen Furst of Babylon 5. Little Bigfoot went on to become the third highest grossing video for Republic pictures and garnered two stars in TV Guide.
Camacho then jumped right back into the action genre directing Recoil, an action film that boasts the longest car chase in independent film history. He also co-produced and directed the suspense thriller Point Doom starring Richard Grieco, Andrew "Dice" Clay and supermodel Angie Everhart.
To date, Camacho has produced and directed several feature films and episodes of LA Heat; a buddy cop action series and Reyes y Rey, a Spanish language series for Sony Pictures/Stu Segal Productions. His first feature, The Power Within garnered rave reviews from the international martial arts community and was extremely lucrative in the foreign and domestic independent feature film markets. It also received high ratings in the leading home video guides.
Camacho has been featured in numerous international magazines throughout the world including Black Belt magazine, Inside Kung Fu, Karate International, and Cinturon Negro. He has also been in cover stories on Masters and Styles, Secrets of the Masters. He had a cover story in England's Martial Arts Illustrated which sold out in record time. He has also been included in both the Who’s Who in Entertainment and the Encyclopedia of Martial Arts. L.A.'s largest Spanish Language Newspaper La Opinion did a cover story on him in their entertainment section. He was also featured on the TV Programs Hola Los Angeles; an exclusive interview for Cinemax hosted by Sharie Belafonte and Mexico's channel 12. Univision's Despierta America and CONTROL did segments that highlighted Camacho's film appearances and featured one of his spectacular dynamic martial arts demonstrations.
In 2003, Art was inducted into the Martial Arts History Museum's Hall of Fame (Funakoshi Award). In 2004, Art was appointed as a member of the Museum's Board of Directors.