Participant Media has acquired all North American rights to the biographical drama “Chavez,” directed by Diego Luna and starring Michael Peña as labor organizer Cesar E. Chavez. The Canana Films project is currently filming in Sonora, Mexico.
The film, written by “Hotel Rwanda” scribe Keir Pearson, depicts Chavez’s successful efforts to organize farm workers in California to obtain basic human rights. America Ferrera, Rosario Dawson, Wes Bentley, John Malkovich, Michael Cudlitz, Gabriel Mann, Jacob Vargas, Yancey Arias and Mark Moses co-star.
Canana Films principals Pablo Cruz, Gael Garcia Bernal and Luna are producing along with Mr. Mudd’s John Malkovich, Lianne Halfon and Russell Smith, and Pearson and Larry Meli. Participant execs Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King are executive producers. The company recently co-financed Canana’s 2012 Cannes Film Festival entry “No,” which stars Bernal.
“This film provides an emotional and inspiring telling of Cesar Chavez’s struggle for equality, respect and dignity and is a natural fit for Participant,” said Participant CEO Jim Berk.
Participant execs King and Jeff Ivers negotiated the deal with Robert and Matt Wallerstein of Hirsch Wallerstein Hayum Matlof and Fishman on behalf of Canana (“Miss Bala,” “Abel,” “Sin Nombre”).