Latin Trends (LT): What inspired you to direct the film?
Richard Ray Perez (RRP): What inspired me was the close connection that I had with my dad when he was a farm worker for 22 years. He told my siblings and me about what he went through and the humiliation and indignity he experienced as a migrant farm worker.
LT: Now that it is made, would you change anything about it?
RRP: Filmmakers could spend the rest of their lives changing or re-editing the same film. Bur for now, there are no major changes I would make to my film. There are, however, some sections I wish I had more time to spend on, particularly the section that deals Cesar’s perceived shortcomings. I wanted to explore this more. But the film essentially says everything I want it to say, which is that Cesar was not a perfect man. Nonetheless, he had profoundly positive impact to the lives of generations of farm workers, and he inspired and empowered an entire people.
LT: Was there an event in your life that wanted you to make this documentary?
RRP:I was 4 years old and participated with Chicango Students Volunteer Program. I was eating lunch and noticed that my classmate picked out the grapes in the fruit cocktail. When I asked him why he was doing that, it was because the people did not pick them well. Every other student began doing the same thing. Being so young, I was understanding what my dad went through.
LT: What scene are you most proud of and why?
RRP: I would have to say the climatic scene where Cesar Chavez breaks fast with eating a piece of bread. There is a strong, emotional response from the audience and it stands out in the film.
At the end of the film, there was a question and answer session where audience members asked about Chavez’s death, on why he made the film now, plans for an educational supplement and the best and most difficult part of making the film.