“Food Chains” private screenings in San Francisco, LA pack the house with food movement, farmworker organizing luminaries!

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San Francisco press calls film an “incredibly moving documentary”; Dolores Huerta pledges to “joyfully promote the film and the Fair Food campaign”!…

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From left to right, Smriti Keshari (producer, “Food Chains”), former US Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, CIW co-founder Lucas Benitez, David Damian Figueroa (MALDEF, executive producer “Food Chains”), Dolores Huerta (co-founder, UFW), Jon Esformes (Operating Partner, Pacific Tomato Growers), Sanjay Rawal (director, “Food Chains”), gather for a photo following last week’s screening at Creative Artists Agency’s offices in Los Angeles.

Last week was a busy one on the “Food Chains” calendar!  With two invitation-only screenings in California, the “Food Chains” road crew continued to marshal support for the first feature film to take a close look at the CIW’s Campaign for Fair Food and the groundbreaking Fair Food Program ahead of its big Nov. 21st theatrical release. 

First up, San Francisco.  “Food Chains” director Sanjay Rawal reports from the scene:

sfscreeningOn Tuesday evening, chef Alice Waters, journalist Davia Nelson and documentary filmmaker James Redford hosted a private screening of FOOD CHAINS at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas in San Francisco along with the Neda Nobari Foundation and CRLA.  The one-time-only sneak peek in the Bay Area proved to be a high-demand event.  Audience members came from far and wide for this standing room-only screening and included heads of major foundations, local food celebrities, vintners, and farmers.

James Redford (right) gave a moving introduction to the evening in which he referenced the long history of his brother-in-law and Food Chains’s Executive Producer, Eric Schlosser, in reporting on human rights violations in farm labor.  Venerated chef and farm-to-table pioneer Alice Waters spoke of how viscerally moving the film was, giving viewers “a lens into the lives of the very people who pick our food.”  She remarked on her close relationship with the CIW and her aspiration that the Fair Food Program reach the farthest corners of the agricultural sector.

At the film’s conclusion, as Lucas Benitez was introduced, the audience leapt to its feet in a standing ovation. Lucas led an in-depth discussion on the film that was punctuated with some contentious opinions from people representing the Napa Valley wine sector, which is profiled in the film.

The San Francisco city blog “Inside Scoop SF” had high praise for the film, calling it “an incredibly moving documentary from Bay Area native Sanjay Rawal about the injustices done to farm workers in our country,” which is sure to bode well for the film’s success when it opens in the Bay Area this November!

Next up was the city of stars itself, Los Angeles, where the private screening was held at the offices of the legendary (and luxurious) Hollywood talent agency, Creative Artists Agency (CAA).  Sanjay provides the dispatch from LA:

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 We wrapped up our mini screening tour with a packed show at CAA on Wednesday hosted by Thomas Saenz, President and General Counsel of MALDEF.  In his introduction, Tom highlighted the critical importance of FOOD CHAINS in the ongoing battle for civil rights for low-wage workers. At the end of the film he said that he thought the film was “Great” and essential viewing.

We had two LA luminaries on hand. UFW co-Founder and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Dolores Huerta and former Secretary of Labor and current LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis both attended, adding both historical and political relevance to the film. Dolores gave the closing remarks to the night and later emailed our EP David Damian Figueroa (of MALDEF) that “[Food Chains] was a great movie. Our crew really loved it. Thanks for inviting us. We will joyfully promote the film and the Fair Food campaign.”

The film crew received several such congratulatory emails following the screening.  Here below are just a few:

  • Congratulations on such an inspiring, moving film. The documentary was great from start to finish — it was a great reminder of the important work we are doing to empower working-class people: our friends, neighbors, and family. Thanks for the invitation and for doing such great work. – Oscar Padron Espin, Wage and Justice Center
  • Thanks for inviting us.  The film was very inspiring and we really enjoyed visiting and meeting Sanjay and the CIW folks from Immokalee.  Seeing the FLA farmworkers brought back a lot of memories of how we built the UFW. – Emilio Huerta, Esq. (Son of Dolores Huerta)
  • What a brilliant and important film. I hope many people see it. You should be very proud. What good work and so full of integrity. A beautiful story of victory and resilience. – Diane Rodriguez, Theater activist (formerly of Teatro Campesino with Luis Valdez)
  • It’s a monumental contribution to the fight for  farm workers rights! Bravo, Bravisimo! – Alma Martinez, actress, AMPAS member

Momentum continues to build for the November 21st release of “Food Chains”!  Stay tuned as we countdown to Thanksgiving week, and be sure to check in soon for a list of the first cities to screen “Food Chains” when it debuts.