Ambulante California to make its U.S. debut on May Day at MacArthur Park with FREE outdoor screening of the Richard Ray Perez documentary ‘Cesar’s Last Fast’
Headliner musical performance by East LA’s rock band Las Cafeteras
Ambulante’s first major event is supported by Councilman Gil Cedillo and The Department of Cultural Affairs of The City of Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES, California – May 1, 2014 – (HISPANICIZE WIRE) – On May Day, Ambulante – the traveling documentary film festival founded by actors and filmmakers Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna, Pablo Cruz, and Elena Fortes will mark its U.S. debut in Los Angeles, California. Ambulante California’s inaugural event will feature a free outdoor screening of Sundance Film Festival Documentary, “Cesar’s Last Fast” directed by Richard Ray Perez and Lorena Parlee at MacArthur Park – 2230 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90057 at 7 p.m. PST.
Since 2005, Ambulante has earned international recognition for the ambitious, itinerant documentary film festival it organizes in Mexico in collaboration with film company, CANANA, Cinepolis and the Morelia International Film Festival. http://ambulante.com.mx/en/global/california
“Ambulante is by far the project that I’m most proud of being a part of, because I feel like I belong to something that matters,” expressed co-founder Diego Luna. “It came out of a necessity to show films that were not being shown in my community. It’s about celebrating the films that matter and celebrating being part of the audience”.
“I think there is a need to generate Latino American narratives and expressions with depth, transcendence and within a sustainable, long-term model. I think that’s where documentary film is a critical tool specifically to bridge this gap.”
The objective with the pre-launch event is to introduce the community-driven platform to a new American public and its vision for diversifying and democratizing documentary culture. Organizers hope to attract interest from local organizations with whom to collaborate during the festival’ official dates from September 21 to October 4, 2014. http://vimeo.com/77730902
“I think there is a need to generate Latino American narratives and expressions with depth, transcendence and within a sustainable, long-term model. I think that’s where documentary film is a critical tool specifically to bridge this gap, to reflect a unique identity and to empower many people to feel pride from where they come from, who they are, who they would like to be and where they would like to go,” expressed Gael García Bernal, Ambulante co-founder.
“In a way, California chooses Ambulante. It’s not so much that Ambulante has to go there but that California is pulling us there in very organic way, and steering how it will be programmed there in collaboration with the community and cultural organizations,” added García Bernal whose humanizing migrant documentary, “Who is Dayani Cristal?” is currently in limited theatrical release by Kino Lorber.
For the first California tour, Ambulante will concentrate on touring five counties of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Each day Ambulante California will host a free pop-up screening event at a different alternative venue. In partnership with community organizations, the aim is to activate unique, itinerant exhibition spaces to present stories that reflect communities’ diverse heritage, enhance cross-cultural appreciation of other viewpoints, and overall bridge the gap of accessibility when it comes to the exhibition of innovative documentary cinema.
“There is something so romantic yet rogue about Ambulante’s traveling film festival concept. The chance to share a documentary on iconic labor rights organizer Cesar Chavez to commemorate International Workers’ Day is a powerful way to integrate Ambulante with the activist social fabric of Los Angeles. We will be at one of LA’s most iconic landmarks, the newly revitalized MacArthur Park, to reclaim the public space as a necessary point of cultural exchange. It is the best introduction of what Ambulante can offer to enrich communities. Hopefully the communal cinema experience inspires people to join our Ambulante movement so we can collectively create a wide variety of free, equally relevant, stimulating and alternative documentary film happenings all over LA during our festival in the fall,” stated Christine Davila, Director of Ambulante California in charge of adapting the successful Mexican model in its new U.S. environment.
“The support we have received from Ana Guerrero, Chief of Staff for Mayor Eric Garcetti and in particular, District #1 is very encouraging”, added Davila.
Notably, Ambulante’s first major event is being supported by District #1 and the Department of Cultural Affairs of the City of Los Angeles, complementing the local government and Ambulante’s aligned goals of fostering community through revitalizing public places.
“I am proud to support Ambulante California’s screening of ‘Cesar’s Last Fast’ in the heart of Council District 1. On this International Workers’ Day, this film reminds us that change does not come without sacrifice. We must remain focused if we are to succeed,” stated Los Angeles Councilman Gil Cedillo.
“Cesar’s Last Fast” directed by Richard Ray Perez and Lorena Parlee is the very first film to be presented under Ambulante California. ‘Cesar’s Last Fast’ is about the intense sacrifice and deep spiritual conviction behind Cesar Chavez’s lifelong struggle for the humane treatment of our nation’s most vulnerable workers.
“I am thrilled that my film will launch Ambulante California. Ambualante’s mission aligns with my values as a filmmaker and a May Day screening is the perfect opportunity to share a new documentary about Cesar Chavez with the residents of Los Angeles,” said director Richard Ray Perez.
The film was supported by the Sundance Documentary Fund and went on to screen at the Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. Feature Completion. Univision News and Pivot, Participant Media’s TV network, will premiere the documentary simultaneously on May 24th at 7pmET.
The screening of “Cesar’s Last Fast” will be preceded by a special performance by Las Cafeteras, named by LA Weekly as the “Best Latin Alternative Band – 2013”. The seven piece rebel Chicano folk band Las Cafeteras is known for its vibrant musical fusion with a unique East LA sound and a community-focused political message.
“As urban folk artists, we feel honored to share our movement music with the Ambulante Film Festival, whose vision for documenting the stories of Latinoamérica and the U.S. is not only inspiring, but critically needed”, said Denise Carlos, singer with Las Cafeteras.
After the screening, director Richard Ray Perez and members of the Chavez Foundation will participate in a Q&A session that will be moderated by Dr. Gaspar Rivera-Salgado, Project Director at the UCLA Labor Center.
Ambulante California is made possible in part through a generous grant by the Ford Foundation.
Ambulante Org is the 2005 non-profit organization founded by actors and filmmakers, Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna, Pablo Cruz, and Elena Fortes. Ambulante focuses on supporting and promoting documentary film as a tool for social and cultural transformation. The film festival tour travels to areas with limited access to film to diversify and democratize documentary culture. Ambulante’s objective is to reach a broader audience by screening films in a wide array of venues and offering most of its programming for free. www.ambulante.com.mx
About The Film
Cesar’s Last Fast is a multi-platform feature documentary film about the private sacrifice and spiritual conviction behind Cesar Chavez’s struggle for the humane treatment of America’s farm workers, and the impact Chavez’s legacy has on today’s generation of organizers fighting for farm worker rights. The film is built around powerful, never-before-seen footage of Chavez’s 1988 “Fast for Life,” a 36-day act of penance for not having done enough to stop growers from spraying pesticides on farm workers. The story of this water-only fast is the film’s dramatic arc into which the filmmakers interweave the historic events that defined the life mission of America’s most inspiring Latino leader and the struggles confronting today’s farm workers. http://cesarslastfast.com/?page_id=5, (@CesarsLastFast)
About Las Cafeteras
Las Cafeteras create a vibrant musical fusion with a unique East LA sound and a community-focused political message. Their Afro-Mexican rhythms, zapateado & inspiring lyrics tell stories of a community who is looking for love & fights for justice in the concrete jungle of Los Angeles. A remix of traditional Son Jarocho sounds, LAS CAFETERAS add Afro-Caribbean marimbol and cajón, poetry in English and Spanglish, and instruments like jarana, requinto, a donkey jawbone and a wooden platform called the Tarima. (http://lascafeteras.com/ , @LasCafeteras)