U.S Ripe for Biopic on Cesar Chavez, Luna says

U.S Ripe Biopic on Cesar Chavez,

BERLIN –“We’re coming out with ‘Cesar Chavez’ at the right moment in the States,” said its director, Diego Luna, of the celebration of the U.S. civil rights activist and his legacy, which world premieres Wednesday in Berlin.

“There’s a big debate in the U.S. about immigration reform,” he went on. “We need to reflect on who’s feeding this country today, why this community has been ignored. There’s still much injustice and inequality.”

Lead-produced by Mexico City/L.A. based Canana, run by Gael Garcia Bernal, Luna, Pablo Cruz and Julian Levin, the Berlinale Special Gala stars Michael Pena as Chavez, a first-generation American who from the early ‘60s fought and finally won basic rights in the U.S. for migrant farm workers, such as minimum wages and collective bargaining.

America Ferrara plays his wife, Rosario Dawson fellow labor-leader Dolores Huerta, John Malkovich an industrial grape farm boss, Chavez’s would-be nemesis.

Part of Chavez’s legacy was his example. Influenced by Gandhi and Martin Luther King, sidestepping politicians, he promoted non-violence: strikes, hunger-strikes (his own), boycotts, pickets.

Also, Luna argued, he connected with consumers: “Chavez posed the question: If your kid eats a grape why should that grape exist at the expense of other kids’ not going to school?”

Chavez’s argument finally won out.  He “showed that if even the weakest, most abused community raises its voice at the same time, it will be heard,” Luna said.

Two generations later, in film and TV, Canana is also empowering a new generation of Mexicans and Latin Americans, young filmmakers, with ever-greater impact in the U.S.

“Cesar Chavez” is co-produced with Malkovich’s L.A.-based label, Mr Mudd. Jeff Skoll’s Participant Media, with whom Canana has launched a Participant PanAmerica production fund, acquired U.S. rights. Pantelion, a Lionsgate joint venture with Mexico’s Televisa, releases “Cesar Chavez” March 28 Stateside. Mundial, a Canana-IM Global partnership, sells international rights at Berlin.

And “Cesar Chavez” isn’t just a story for Mexicans, Luna insisted.

“It’s a story about America. The boycott worked not just in California but in all the country. They collapsed the whole food industry by saying: ‘My issues matter.’ Hopefully we’ll achieve this with the film.”

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 3

Leave a Reply

3 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Doc Noah says:

    What’s up with the sire today? Comments logged into wrong section.

  2. Doc Noah says:

    Seriously? Traditionally, sociopathic serial killer movies tend to be if the “B”: box office nature in America.

More Film News from Variety

Loading