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NALIP (National Association of Latino Independent Producers): 5 HOT AMERICAN LATINO FILMS TO DISCOVER IN 2013
01/16/2013

 
MUST MENTION

CHAVEZ –  written and directed by Diego Luna and produced by Canana Films, Mr. Mudd and backed by Participant Media.  Given it’s a biography of an iconic Chicano figure, labor rights activist Cesar Chavez, and Luna is an international name talent, this project has already attracted major press coverage ever since it was first announced so it doesn’t really fit my ‘Discovery’ profile.  That said, it is a highly anticipated and important film. I really hope the film opens wide and mainstream – although Participant will likely need a partner to make this happen in the U.S.  Michael Peña, the Puerto Rican actor catapulting towards leading man roles and already a regular in big Hollywood films (he’s in Gangster Squad opening this weekend), embodies a young Chavez.  It wasn’t quite ready for Sundance so it’s possible the film will bow at a high profile festival like Cannes or Toronto.  Although I’m hoping Stephanie Allain, director of Film Independent’s LA Film Festival will go hard after the film to wrangle what would be a fitting LA gala premiere.  Diego Luna proved his salt as the filmmaker of Abel, an eloquent and heart-stirring portrait of a little delusional boy who pretends to be the man of the house since his father left. Peña recently shared his approach was to be truthful to Cesar the MAN not necessarily the legend or myth generated by his colossal perseverance and labor rights feats.  All eyes will be on the representation of such a queridoand influential figure.   My bet?  All in.  I trust the filmmakers and cast will deliver a resonant and accomplished cinematic film worthy of the inspiring civil rights story, and more importantly re-introduce Chavez to mobilize our millennial generation.