In “Cesar Chavez,” which opens Friday, March 28, Michael Peña portrays a man who, torn between his duties as a husband and father and his commitment to bringing dignity and justice to others, embraces non-violence as he battles greed and prejudice in his struggle for the rights of farm workers.
Listen to “Breakthrough Entertainment” and Phoenix Movie Examiner's full interview with Luna by clicking on the image above this article. The following is an excerpt from the interview in which the director discusses his motivation for making the movie and what he hopes that audiences will take away from watching “Cesar Chavez.”
“I think that it is time to celebrate the story and the legacy of Cesar Chavez in film. Nobody has done it before and I am shocked. The 10 years that I am talking about happened in the 60’s and the beginning of the 70’s. That is the piece of Cesar’s life that I wanted to portray in cinema because I think that it is time to talk about what needed to happen for us to be here today and to raise a little awareness of the experience of farm workers in this country. This is a community that is feeding the country and deserves to be recognized and celebrated. We tend to think that food arrives magically to the stores or to the restaurants but it is the work of many behind it.
“And this is also a story that shows us that change is in our hands. It is a beautiful message of equality, of respect and of change happening because people got connected with other people. Our strength is in our numbers. Change can happen if you go out there and find out who thinks like you do. If you raise your voice at the same time with everyone that feels or thinks like you do, you can be heard. It is about getting out there and finding who thinks like you do and finding that connection with others - not what separates you.
“There are a few states in the country that celebrate Cesar Chavez today but we believe that it is time for this whole country to celebrate the legacy of this man. And I think that Cesar would be very happy if we celebrate him with a day of service instead of a day of doing nothing. He was always doing something. He never stopped. And a day of service - a day of actually giving something back to your community - is the way to celebrate a man like this. You just have to go to TakePart.com/CesarChavez and sign the petition so we can send 100,000 signatures to President Obama and urge him to celebrate the legacy of this amazing man and to make sure that we keep it alive.” - Diego Luna