As the sun began to set in Downtown Miami, things were only just starting to heat up on the red carpet at Univision’s “Premio Lo Nuestro” held at the American Airlines Arena last night. Many of the top names in entertainment including William Levy, JenCarlos Canela, Marc Anthony, Pitbull, and Enrique Iglesias were dressed in their “Magic City” best for an evening of accolades and entertainment.
As a crowd of fans screamed to the top of their lungs, we noticed Diego Luna had made his arrival to the pink carpet. We grabbed him for a quick chat about his latest project, “Cesar Chavez”— a film chronicling ten years of the life of Mexican-American Labor Leader, Civil Rights & Human Rights Activist set to hit theaters on March 28th, 2014. Luna serves as director and co-producer alongside his close friend and “Y Tu Mamá También” co-star Gael Garcia Bernal. The film stars Michael Peña in the title role, Rosario Dawson, America Ferrera, and John Malkovich.
Getting this story has been a passion project for you. What will the film teach the world about Cesar Chavez?
“It’s a beautiful story about a man who inspired change in an entire community. His actions them learn the true power of their combined voices. They found the strength to change their reality and make a difference. I believe this is the perfect example for anyone today. It’s also an important piece of the history of this country. We can get together and celebrate at events like this one today, because of people like Cesar who fought really hard for our community.”
What originally inspired you to want to get his story out?
“I spend a lot of time in California and I found myself driving along a street called “Cesar Chavez Avenue,” and one day I realized I didn’t know very much about him. I was ashamed because his story is a big part of our story— who we are as Latinos. My son was born in California and I want him to grow up knowing stories like this one. We need the debate over immigration reform become a priority so that our community doesn’t have to suffer any further injustice. I really hope this film helps to inspire people to take on this cause in a bigger way.”
As Latinos, we’ve proven our strength in numbers at the box office. How can we support this film and ensure more like this are made in the future?
“People need to head out on the 28th and buy tickets. The cinema today still doesn’t represent Latinos as it should. We need to stand up and support projects like this so that we can have our stories represented on the big screen. Hopefully we will send a message with this film— it’s in our hands to create change.”
You’ve worked with director Alfonso Cuarón who is being recognized all over the world for his film, “Gravity” and could possibly take home an Oscar next month. We hope to see you follow in his footsteps with “Cesar Chavez.”
“Alfonso, in many ways, has served as a mentor to me. Working with him on “Y Tu Mamá También” changed my life and it helped me view the world from a different perspective. I owe Alfonso so much. I love him and celebrate him everyday. I’ve been following all his recent success and I’m extremely proud of him. He’s been making solid films for a long time and I’m glad he is finally being recognized for his directorial work. I view awards as the “cherry on top”, but his amazing work can’t ever be taken away from him.”
Do you hope to follow in his footsteps?
“I’ll be happy if everyone comes out to support our new film on March 28th. I’d love to hear how full theaters were on opening weekend. We create these films because we want people to hear these stories and have it touch them as much as it did us. So if this happens on the 28th, I would already feel like a successful director.”