CESAR’S LAST FAST
CESAR’S LAST FAST
CESAR’S LAST FAST
CESAR’S LAST FAST
Cesar Chavez, a historic fast and the fight for farmworkers rights

CESAR’S LAST FAST

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​HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - Video Librarian 
| HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - Social Responsibilities Roundtable | OFFICIAL SELECTION - Sundance Film Festival

Politics • Civil Rights • American History • Latino/Chicano • Race & Ethnicity • Religion • Environment

Date of Completion: 2014 | Run Time: 93 minutes​​ | Language: English & Spanish with English subtitles | Captions: Yes | Includes: Transcript & Educational Guide | Director: Richard Ray Perez | Producer: Molly O'Brien

CESAR'S LAST FAST is a Sundance feature documentary about the private sacrifice and spiritual conviction behind César Chavez’s struggle for the humane treatment of America’s farmworkers. A panorama of Mexican American and American history, civil rights, non-violent protest tactics, the environment, labor struggles, Catholic and Indigenous religious practices, this important documentary gives students unprecedented insight into Chavez's life and the historic farmworker movement. By featuring never-before-seen footage of Chavez’s 1988 “Fast for Life,” a 36-day act of self-imposed penance, CESAR'S LAST FAST gives viewers a detailed and intimate account of Chavez' response to the resistance he faced in his all-consuming quest to stop growers from spraying pesticide on farmworkers. For young people, the film is a moving introduction to a pioneering social justice movement, and the individuals and communities who continue to creatively confront the inequalities they face every day.

Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies | Reviewed by Guillermo Martínez Sotelo
"Desde los primeros intentos de organización de Chávez, pasando por la huelga contra los productores de uva y su famosa marcha, a manera de peregrinación, hasta la ciudad de Sacramento entre marzo y abril de 1966; hay una gran abundancia de material fílmico que ha sido incluido en este documental. Si algo sirve de hilo conector entre las épocas y las imágenes son las entrevistas que Perez realizó para este trabajo."

The New York Times | Reviewed by Andy Webster
"'I think I know what my mission is,' says the labor leader Cesar Chavez in Cesar’s Last Fast. 'Righting the wrongs that were committed against workers for 100 years.' Chavez (1927-1993), a founder of what became theUnited Farm Workers union, faced brutal odds, as this compelling documentary demonstrates."

Video Librarian: 'Highly recommended'
Aud: C, P. (P. Hall)
"The focus of Richard Ray Perez’s riveting film is labor leader Cesar Chavez’s highly publicized 36-day “Fast for Life,” during which he consumed only water. This action, undertaken in the summer of 1988, was presented as an act of public penance for not having done enough to prevent agricultural companies from spraying pesticides on members of Chavez’s United Farm Workers (UFW)—many of whom traced cancer and birth defects to the excessive use of agricultural chemicals. Perez’s documentary, which was shown at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, offers a deeply moving study of Chavez’s dramatic ordeal, while simultaneously tracing his tumultuous efforts to change federal law and allow the predominantly immigrant farm workers to organize into a union. UFW co-founder Dolores Huerta, actor Martin Sheen, movie and theater director Luis Valdez, and members of Chavez’s family provide insight into the strategies used by Chavez to unite the disenfranchised laborers. The 1988 hunger strike was not Chavez’s first as an act of civil disobedience, but extensive media coverage and public support from figures (including Rev. Jesse Jackson) helped to make Chavez’s actions a gripping news story. Presenting both the full-length version and a 54-minute abridgement, this documentary offers an excellent portrait of one of the most influential figures in the modern American labor movement. Highly recommended."

Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT) | Reviewed by Cassandra Mackie
"This documentary gives us a complex look at Chavez and the migrant workers’ rights movement that he helped create. This documentary is highly recommended for academic, large public library collections or public libraries with Chicano or Mexican-American collections."

Download the Educational Guide

REQUEST A GOOD TALK WITH RICHARD RAY PEREZ

Richard Ray Perez is the director of CESAR’S LAST FAST, the Sundance feature documentary about the private sacrifice and spiritual conviction behind Cesar Chavez’s struggle for the humane treatment of America’s farm workers. A panorama of Mexican American and American history, civil rights, non-violent protest tactics, environmentalism, labor struggles, Catholic and Indigenous religious practices, this never before seen footage gives students unprecedented insight into Chavez's life and the historic farm worker movement. Perez has been a featured speaker, panelist and moderator at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, the Skoll World Forum, Sundance Film Festival, and the National Latino Studies Association. His presentations address the role of documentary film in creating social change and are informed by his 14-year career as a documentary film director and producer. ​ Perez’s film work includes executive producing the multi-platform documentary series In Their Boots, a 29-episode project about the impact the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have had on communities across America, which was nominated for the 2009 International Documentary Association Award for best single subject documentary series. He produced and directed the seminal political documentary Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election, which the Los Angeles Times called “a riveting story about the undermining of democracy in America.” It has screened at 50 international film festivals, won nine festival awards and premiered on the Sundance Channel in 2004. He also co-executive produced The Freedom Files, Season II, a 9-episode series which aired on PBS about the impact civil liberties violations have on the daily lives of real people. Perez is currently a senior staffer in the Documentary Film Program at Sundance Institute and holds a BA in Visual & Environmental Studies from Harvard University.