The following comes from a Feb. 13 email inviting Cal Catholic staff to a film screening on Feb. 18 in Santa Monica.

Cesar Chavez was inspired by Father Donald McDonnell, who introduced him at a young age to social justice and the principles of nonviolence.  “Cesar tried to live the gospels and the social teachings of his Catholic faith every day, but his career dedicated to service to others all began with the lessons he learned early in life from Father McDonnell who profoundly impacted Cesar and so many others.” The priest’s association with Chavez “perhaps changed the course of history,” said Bishop Gerald Wilkerson, auxiliary bishop.


Synopsis:  In Cesar Chavez, director Diego Luna presents a powerful cinematic portrait of the legendary activist.  The film stars Michael Pena (End of Watch, Lionsgate’s Academy Award-winning Crash) in the title role, along with America Ferrera (Ugly Betty, End of Watch), Rosario Dawson (Sin City, Seven Pounds) and John Malkovich (In The Line of Fire, Summit Entertainment’s Red and Red 2).

Chronicling the birth of a modern American movement, Cesar Chavez tells the story of the famed civil rights leader and labor organizer torn between his duties as a husband and father and his commitment to securing a living wage for farm workers. Passionate but soft-spoken, Chavez embraced non-violence as he battled greed and prejudice in his struggle to bring dignity to people. Chavez inspired millions of Americans from all walks of life who never worked on a farm to fight for social justice.  His triumphant journey is a remarkable testament to the power of one individual’s ability to change the world.

Director: Diego Luna

Producers: Canana Films’ Diego Luna, Pablo Cruz and Gael Garcia Bernal and John Malkovich, Lianna Halfon and Russell Smith of Mr. Mudd

Executive Producers:  Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King of Participant Media

Release Date: March 28, 2014

Running Time: 98 minutes

Rating: PG-13