Berkeley Media LLC
2600 Tenth Street, Suite 626
Berkeley, CA 94710
Cruz Reynoso: Sowing the Seeds of Justice
Throughout his extraordinary life, Cruz Reynoso has been one of those rare individuals who are not shaped by history, but rather make history. This widely acclaimed and thought-provoking documentary explores the life and achievements of a man who felt the sting of injustice while growing up and later, as a lawyer, judge, and educator, fought for more than five decades to eradicate discrimination and inequality in American life.
Employing an informative and engaging mix of historical footage, interviews, authoritative commentary, and period music, the film provides an exemplary profile of a noted public figure and at the same time illustrates his impact on important recent history, especially the fight for social justice for farm workers and other immigrants.
Reynoso was born into a family of Spanish-speaking farm workers who had 11 children. The film relates Reynoso's struggle for an education, which included degrees from Pomona College in 1953 and the University of California, Berkeley, Law School in 1958. He then became the first Latino Director of California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA) and later one of the first Latino law professors in the country, at the University of New Mexico Law School.
His ascent to the California Supreme Court was a singular achievement, as he was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown as the first Latino justice on that bench. Then in a heated recall campaign whose central issue was the death penalty, Reynoso and two other justices lost their seats. As Vice Chair on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, he provided leadership in the only investigation of voting rights abuses in the 2000 election in Florida. He received the country's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, for his lifelong devotion to public service. Today, at 78, he continues to teach law at UC Davis Law School and to actively participate in community organizations throughout California.
Cruz Reynoso: Sowing the Seeds of Justice chronicles the life of a man who gave Ronald Reagan fits by fighting for immigrants' rights, and helped Cesar Chavez improve the lives of millions of farm workers. It will engage students and inspire thought and discussion in a wide range of courses in ethnic and Latino studies, American studies and history, sociology, law and jurisprudence, public policy, and contemporary social problems. It was produced by award-winning filmmaker Abby Ginzberg and narrated by noted actor and writer Luis Valdez. The DVD comes with both an English and Spanish subtitled version of the film.
"This outstanding classroom tool captures the vibrancy, passion, and energy of the Chicano and UFW movements in their quest for social justice during the Brown and Reagan administrations in California. The commitment manifested by Cruz Reynoso and the CRLA team of attorneys in securing basic rights for farm workers is an inspiration. The vivid images, poignant film clips, and moving sound track bring this period back to life and give students the gift of experiencing this time of hope, courage, and collective struggle." -- Maria Luisa Alaniz, Professor, Interdisciplinary Social Science Dept., San Jose State University
"Every law school library should have a copy of this inspiring and informative documentary to help teach the next generation of social justice advocates. Cruz Reynoso worked tirelessly to turn the tide of social injustice in California and the United States, and his amazing legal and activist career intersected with some of the most influential people in politics and government. This film is a wonderful portrait of an unsung hero of the legal profession. " -- Mary Louise Frampton, Professor of Law, Faculty Director, Thelton Henderson Center for Social Justice, University of California, Berkeley, School of Law
- "Best Feature-Length Documentary," Sacramento Film and Music Festival
- Accolade Award
- Davey Award
- Cine Las Americas honoree
- Los Angeles Latino Film Festival honoree
- Chicago Latino Film Festival honoree
- Boston Latino Film Festival honoree
- San Diego Latino Film Festival honoree
- Uruguay International Documentary Film Festival honoree
- Havana International Film Festival honoree
- Santa Cruz (CA) Film Festival honoree
Produced and directed by Abby Ginzberg.
Narrated by Luis Valdez.
Consulting Producer: Ray Telles
Editors: Ken Schneider, Maureen Gosling
Cinematographer: Vicente Franco