Tribeca Film Festival makes “Food Chains” an official selection with screening set for April 26th in NYC!

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Film also premiered in Mexico this past Sunday at Guadalajara Film Festival to packed house, huge press conference (pictured below), and wildly positive audience reaction!

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Jorge Camara (left, with mic) — the renowned Mexican American journalist and past president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association — moderates a Q&A session with the press following the Sunday screening of “Food Chains” at the Guadalajara International Film Festival (see below). From left to right, “Food Chains” director Sanjay Rawal, Executive Producer Eva Longoria, Executive Producer David Damien Figueroa of MALDEF, and Raul Padilla, President of the University of Guadalajara where the festival took place.

It has been a busy week for the farm labor documentary “Food Chains.”

Fresh off its successful world premier at the Berlin Film Festival, “Food Chains” was named an official selection of the Tribeca Film Festival last Monday and then turned around and took the Guadalajara International Film Festival by storm this past weekend!  

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Press gathered for the Q&A with Eva Longoria, Sanjay Rawal, and David Damian Figueroa following the screening of “Food Chains” at the Guadalajara Film Festival.

To top off its great week, the film was also included in the prestigious “Tribeca Talks” series of panel discussions organized around the film festival, with the CIW’s Gerardo Reyes joining the film’s Executive Producers Eva Longoria and Eric Schlosser for a talk about the situation of farmworkers in the country today and the Fair Food Program as the most effective solution to farm labor exploitation and abuse in over a generation.  Other panel discussions included in the Tribeca Talks series this year feature artists, directors, and writers from Kevin Spacey and Ron Howard to Michael Douglas, Alec Baldwin, and David Simon.

Director Sanjay Rawal (pictured below, speaking, after Sunday’s screening in Guadalajara) offered the following, impassioned reflection on the film, its genesis, and his hopes for its impact on the occasion of its selection by the Tribeca Film Festival:

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In August 2011, I drove up to the CIW headquarters alone, expecting to meet one or two people to pitch an idea about a farm labor film, something I hoped in all honesty and humility might become the FOOD INC of farmworker rights. I knew firmly that without the CIW, such a film could not be made. When I arrived (slightly late), 25 members of the CIW were waiting, engaged and poised. What followed that meeting was 24 months of production and 24 months of somewhat simultaneous editing – three years in total. We spent weeks with the CIW in Immokalee, filmed their triumphant victory and agreement with Trader Joe’s, spent hours in fields in Southern Florida with workers and sat in vigil (with cameras) during the Fast for Fair Food outside the headquarters of Publix in 2012.

As the CIW’s story penetrated our psyches so did the sheer arrogance of the American grocery industry, igniting an unsettling ambition in me and my crew to make a film that would shatter people’s conceptions of justice in our food system and drive a stake into the very idea that retail food corporations could still dare to turn their backs on farmworker rights in the 21st century (that’s you, Publix).

Never in our wildest imaginations would we have expected the selfless support of renowned actress Eva Longoria nor of the legendary investigative journalist and author Eric Schlosser – both now Executive Producers of the film – nor of Barry Estabrook (now a co-Producer) whose writings on the eradication of modern-day slavery in the fields of Florida awakened Americans both to the problem as well as to the solution (the Fair Food Program).

We had a rapturous reception this past February at the Berlin Film Festival. And April 26th at 2 pm, we will be making our U.S. premiere at my hometown festival, Tribeca, planting a flag in lower Manhattan for farmworker rights. 

Publix – we are launching our film and its campaign for justice in the best possible venue anywhere – with an all-star panel including Eva, Eric, Kerry Kennedy and the CIW – in the world’s most dynamic media market – with a multi-year push just revving up.

Ahold, Safeway, Kroger – you, too, are in our sights. 

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” (MLK). 

Tickets will be on sale at http://tribecafilmfestival.org/ on April 8th. See you all there. 

And with that, the gauntlet has decidedly been thrown!  Be sure to stay tuned for more from the dynamic film crew behind “Food Chains” and for news as the Tribeca Film Festival approaches…