Participant Media Takes Diego Luna’s Chavez

Participant Media has acquired all North American rights to Diego Luna’s upcoming Chavez, the distributor announced today. The film stars Michael Peña (Battle: Los Angeles, Crash) as famed labor organizer Cesar E. Chavez.

The screenplay arrives from Keir Pearson (Hotel Rwanda) and focuses on Chavez’s fearless determination in organizing the largest non-violent protest in U.S. history to accomplish his ultimate goal of obtaining basic human rights for over 50,000 farm workers in California.

The film reunites Participant with Mexico’s Canana Films following their triumphant Cannes Directors’ Fortnight launch for Pablo Larrain’s No, which won the Art Cinema Prize. Chavez is being produced by Canana principals Pablo Cruz (Miss Bala), Gael Garcia Bernal (who has a cameo role in the film) and Luna, along with John Malkovich (who stars as Bogdanovich, one of Chavez’s key adversaries), Lianne Halfon and Russell Smith of Mr. Mudd, Pearson and Larry Meli. Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King serve as Executive Producers.

Currently filming in Sonora, Mexico, Chavez co-stars America Ferrera, Rosario Dawson, Wes Bentley, Michael Cudlitz, Gabriel Mann, Jacob Vargas, Yancey Arias and Mark Moses.

Jim Berk, Participant Media CEO, said, “This film provides an emotional and inspiring telling of Cesar Chavez’ struggle for equality, respect and dignity and is a natural fit for Participant. We are thrilled to be joining Diego and his remarkable cast for what we believe will be an important and memorable film.”

“We are very pleased to be teaming with our good friends at Participant for this portrait of a man who inspired an entire community to rise up against injustice,” said Luna. “We believe this film will send the powerful message that change is in our hands and Participant is the perfect partner to help this film reach a large North American audience.”

Luna first went behind the lens with JC Chavez, a documentary about the life and struggles of legendary Mexican boxer Julio Cesar Chavez. In 2009, Luna directed and co-wrote his first fictional film, Abel, an international box office and film festival hit.

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