Cesar Chavez film screened for 1,000 farmworkers

DELANO, Calif.

More than a 1,000 farmworkers from all over California were bussed into Delano for a special screening.

Maria Perez told ABC30, "Without him fighting for our rights, I think we didn't have a chance to be fine, to work in a good environment."

Perez works in ag fields in Kerman. She like many others brought her family to see the movie about Cesar Chavez, the man she says changed her life.

"With the movie it's going to be easy to explain to our kids and family how he was, how we work in the fields," said Perez.

Chavez' son, Paul, says this premiere beats last week's red carpet event, hands down.

Chavez explained, "The fact that we're here with people that marched with my father and stood by his side, that's especially heartwarming."

The more than 1,000 workers on the invite list were treated to a dinner before the movie. And they got to hear from its director, Diego Luna, who spent four years on the project, putting it together with Chavez's family.

Getting funding for a movie with a Latino as the celebrated hero, wasn't easy.

"We spent like a whole year touring around the states with this script, trying to make this possible," said Director Diego Luna. "We decided to go to Mexico and in a week we got 70 percent of the financing. This is a story that belongs to both sides of the border."

Luna hopes his portrayal of the passionate and soft-spoken civil rights leader not only shows the struggles overcome in farm fields, but also the battles that farmworkers still face today.

"It's not just about Cesar Chavez or the farmworkers movement," said Luna. "It's about the Latino movement. We're rarely celebrated in film."

Farmworkers from across the state enjoyed what they saw of the new movie. About three quarters of the way through the screening, heavy winds began blowing the screen back and forth. And it began to rain.

Much of what's in the movie, happened at the United Farm Workers' Property, "Forty Acres."

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.