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Updated Mar 13, 2014 - 7:39 am

Cesar Chavez's family pleased with film about farm-labor leader's life

Director Diego Luna, right, and Paul Chavez arrive at the North American premiere of "Cesar Chavez" during the SXSW Film Festival on Monday, March 10, 2014, in Austin, Texas. Chavez is the youngest son of Cesar Chavez. (Photo by Jack Plunkett/Invision/AP)

PHOENIX -- The first major motion picture about Arizona native and American icon Cesar Chavez will be screened at the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix on Thursday night.

Among those in attendance will be director Diego Luna and one of Chavez's eight children, Paul.

"We're really excited," Paul Chavez told KTAR. "We think Diego Luna and the cast have done a really a good job not just at capturing the classic conflict between farm workers and employers, but it also talks about the struggles within the farm workers community and the fight to ensure that this movement was always committed to the principles of non-violence."

Cesar Chavez was born near Yuma and watched his family lose their farm during the Great Depression. When the family moved to California, they got jobs as farm workers. There, Chavez began a labor movement that led to the creation of the United Farm Workers.

Paul Chavez, who oversees the Cesar Chavez Foundation, said the film also showed his family's sacrifice.

"Growing up, my father wasn't able to attend our Little League baseball games or do things parents do with other kids because he was busy and being pulled in other directions," he said.

"But one thing my father did was to make sure his work was big enough so that his family could play a role in it. So, while we didn't go to baseball games together, I was planning picket lines and union meetings and conventions with him."

The film will open in 100 markets March 28. The Chavez Foundation has created an online petition asking President Barack Obama to proclaim a national day of service on March 31, which was Chavez's birthday.

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