EXCLUSIVE: In a mid-six figure deal, Participant Media’s TV network Pivot is teaming with Univision to acquire Cesar’s Last Fast, the documentary about Cesar Chavez that will make its Sundance premiere tomorrow in the U.S. Feature Documentary category. The deal is the first major one after Participant and Univision last year formed a venture to acquire smart properties to air on both networks.
The film covers the 36-day fast undertaken by Cesar Chavez to bring attention around the world to the dangers of the liberal use of pesticides on farm workers, their families and communities. The 1988 fast, in which Chavez only consumed water, was captured on film by filmmakers James Chressanthis, Richard Ray Perez and Lorena Parlee. It was one of the courageous acts that made Chavez an iconic advocate for farm workers.
Participant’s Pivot TV is here at Sundance making a splash with hitRECord, the interactive TV series by Joseph Gordon-Levitt that was recently renewed for an 8-episode second season. Gordon-Levitt’s showing the first three episodes here. Cesar’s Last Fast is being repped by Preferred Content.
Pivot, the cable network from Participant Media targeting Generation Y, and Univision News, the award-winning news division of Univision Communications Inc., the leading media company serving Hispanic America, have acquired the U.S. TV rights to ‘Cesar’s Last Fast’ from Richard Ray Perez and Lorena Parlee in advance of its world debut at the Sundance Film Festival. The deal marks the first of ten documentaries to be co-produced or acquired by Pivot and Univision News (and Latin World Entertainment) as part of a previously announced alliance. The documentary will premiere simultaneously in English and Spanish on the two networks – Pivot and the Univision Network– respectively. The announcement was made today by Evan Shapiro, President, Pivot and Isaac Lee, President of Univision News and CEO of Fusion.
‘Cesar’s Last Fast’ follows Chavez on what would be his last act of protest, a 36-day water-only fast to draw attention the horrific effects of pesticide use on farm workers, their families and communities. Using never-before-seen footage of Chavez during his fast and testimony from those closest to him, directors Richard Ray Perez and Lorena Parlee weave together the larger story of Chavez’s life, vision, and legacy. A deeply religious man, Chavez’s moral clarity in organizing and standing with farmworkers at risk of his own life humbled his family, friends, and the world. ‘Cesar’s Last Fast’ is a moving and definitive portrait of the leader of people who became an American icon of struggle and freedom.
Belisa Balaban, SVP, Alternative Programming, Pivot said, “’Cesar’s Last Fast’ illuminates the idealism and conviction of a man who not only changed the lives of workers in his day, but also serves as a lasting inspiration for today’s generation of young activists. Pivot and Univision are the perfect platforms to expose audiences to Chavez’s work, spark conversation and illuminate issues. This documentary further spotlights his remarkable story as will Participant and Pantelion’s upcoming feature “Cesar Chavez” to be released March 28.”
“We are proud to partner with Participant Media to expand our high quality content offerings and give our millions of Spanish-speaking viewers the opportunity to enjoy extraordinary programs like this one,” stated Isaac Lee. “Cesar Chavez is a revered figure in the Hispanic community, and this original documentary will undoubtedly be of great interest to Univision’s audience.”
“We are extremely happy to be working together with Pivot and Univision,” stated filmmaker Perez. “This is a great partnership for our film in getting it out to our audience and for commemorating Cesar’s inspiring life.”
‘Cesar’s Last Fast’ is directed by Richard Ray Perez and Lorena Parlee, produced by Molly O’Brien and executive produced by Lyn Davis Lear with support from Latino Public Broadcasting and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The deal was negotiated by Preferred Content on behalf of the filmmakers and Balaban for Pivot and Juan Rendón, director of Univision’s documentary unit. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.