How the project started
By Dante Betteo
When I read Bonnie Hearn Hill's book "Huelga House" I immediately connected with it. As a reporter in 1987, I interviewed Cesar Chavez for a newspaper feature we did on him, and then years later in 1991, I wrote and produced a network television documentary of his life to commemorate the first anniversary of his passing, so I connected with the story's setting right away. But what hooked me was the plot. The farm worker struggles of 1965 as seen through the eyes of a white grape grower, literally as seen from other side of the tracks. But it's the main character's arch what reveals the real story of social justice, of prejudice and abuse of power. It was a good read, with a story I can identify with, in both, setting and theme.
Soon thereafter, Bonnie and I met at our favorite San Francisco North Beach coffee shop, and hammered out and option agreement. That triggered the process of adapting the book into a screenplay. To make a long story short, the first pass ended up being 190 pages long. I'm telling you this so you figure how much cutting I had to do to end up with a 98 page adaptation. I'm very pleased with the effort, and very excited.
As filmmaker, and principal of Atacama Films, I'm thrilled at the opportunity of taking Bonnie Hearn Hill's Huelga House to the big screen, and be able to tell the story to new audiences.