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'Cesar's Last Fast' examines life of legendary activist during 36-day fast

Image from Cesar's Last Fast
Image from Cesar's Last Fast
Sundance Film Festival

"Cesar's Last Stand" tells the story of legendary activist Cesar E. Chavez's spiritual commitment to fighting for America's farm workers, and an untold chapter in the story of Civil Rights in America.

Still image for Cesar's Last Fast
Sundance Film Festival

Filmmakers Richard Ray Perez and Lorena Parlee structured their documentary around Chavez's 1988 "Fast for Life" and utilize dramatic, never-before-seen footage of Chavez during his fast in bringing the story to audiences.

Chavez embarked on what would be his last act of protest in his remarkable life, driven in part to pay penance for feeling he had not done enough.

His “Fast for Life,” a 36-day water-only hunger strike, drew attention to the horrific effects of unfettered pesticide use on farm workers, their families, and their communities.

Weaving together never-before-seen footage and testimony from those closest to him, Perez and Parlee create a vivid portrait of the larger story of Chavez’s life, vision, and legacy.

Perez is a senior staffer in the Documentary Film Program at Sundance Institute where the "Cesar's Last Fast" will premiere at this year's Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 19.

Parlee began working on the film that became "Cesar’s Last Fast" in 1986 when she volunteered with the United Farm Workers. When Chavez undertook his water-only fast, Parlee was his press secretary and spokesperson.

During this fast, she collected some of the most intimate and powerful footage ever shot of Chavez.

Parlee died on August 18, 2006, after an extended battle with breast cancer. She was 60.

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