This Friday, Pantelion Films will release SPARE PARTS, an inspirational true story about four undocumented Mexican high school students from Arizona who formed a robotics club under the leadership of their teacher, Coach Fredi (George Lopez). Based on the article featured in WIRED magazine, “La Vida Robot” written by Joshua Davis, SPARE PARTS recounts how a rag tag team with no experience, $800, used car parts and a dream went up against the country’s reigning robotics champion, MIT and won it all. While Spare Parts is primarily entertainment the film humanizes the issue of immigration reform making it’s release timely.
As you know, yesterday the Republican U.S. House of Representatives voted against the President’s executive action and approved legislation that would eliminate new deportation protection for millions and expose hundreds of thousands of younger immigrants to expulsion.
At a time when Latino purchasing power and political clout continues to grow and major film studios are going out of their way to court Latinos – Latinos continue to be alarmingly under represented in film and television. A point reiterated so eloquently by Gina Rodriguez during her acceptance speech for best actress at Sunday night’s Golden Globes.
After being exposed to Spare Parts, this is a sampling of how a diverse group of Latino leaders in the U.S. view the film’s current relatable issues.
“Spare Parts is an amazing film that truly captures the spirit of the Latino community’s desire to persevere and achieve success,” said Esther Aguilera, CHCI President & CEO (CHCI). “The story of these four Latino students is an inspiration for all young people and reinforces what can be accomplished with hard work and collaboration.”
“Spare Parts captures not just a compelling underdog story but moreover the great potential that is often hiding in every corner of America,” said Jose Antonio Tijerino, President and CEO of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF). “This movie represents a continuum of innovation in this country from Thomas Edison to Albert Einstein to Steve Jobs to the robotics team from Hayden High. I applauded until my hands hurt.”
“Few movies have done a better job at capturing the quest for the American Dream than Spare Parts,” stated Jose Calderon, President of the Hispanic Federation (HF). “This is an uplifting and heart-warming film of the inspiring true story of undocumented Latino students who shook up the world of robotics competitions, while also establishing a legacy for future generations to come. Spare Parts is a much needed portrait of what any of us can achieve against all odds, while highlighting the need to invest in our youth and fix a broken immigration system that continues to limit our nation’s potential.”
“The movie Spare Parts brilliantly showcases the hardworking spirit, determination, and contributions of immigrants in the U.S.,” said Hector E. Sanchez, Executive Director of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) and Chair of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA). “This inspiring story of a group of Latino students remind us of the hardships undocumented youth have in this country. These students overcame structural barriers showing that when given the opportunity and access to education, Latinos can succeed at the highest levels.”
“This is a remarkable true-life story that deserves to be told by Hollywood so that it can inspire even more young people from all communities in every part of this land. As Gina Rodriguez so eloquently said at the Golden Globes ‘I represent a culture that wants to be seen as heroes.’ The students from Phoenix, Arizona portrayed in this film are exactly the kind of heroes our community has in multitudes, contributing every day to our country,” stated Janet Murguía, President and CEO of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR).
“To see on the big screen people – four undocumented Latino students and their teacher – who don’t usually get the hero treatment is refreshing,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “As educators, we work hard every day to connect with each child, discover his or her passions and unlock her or his potential. Spare Parts resonates with us because we see every day the hard work of our students, their trials and tribulations, ingenuity, and failures and successes. The students in Spare Parts will grab you, shake you, and not let go until you are a believer in big dreams-their dreams.”
“The film starts with an old paradigm of perceived under achievers and upends that perspective when a Latino High School robotics team blows away the Ivy League competition. The film amplifies the message, we have espoused for decades: present Latinos in a contemporary and aspirational manner. The film both inspires and informs us that the will to achieve is in us all, if we have the courage to bring change into our lives.” Felix Sanchez, National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts (NHFA)
“Spare Parts is adding to the wave of great Latino stories and outstanding Latino performances. Audiences expect to see the diversity of our nation reflected onscreen, and it is time for film studios to follow suit. If executives don’t jump into the waters of inclusion, even the bottom line lifeguards won’t be able to save them.”- Alex Nogales, President and CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC)
“Almost every family in America has an immigrant story, one that reflects upon the grit and determination of those of us who came here in pursuit of our dreams. ‘Spare Parts’ reminds us all that an immigrant’s story – to strive, to think creatively, and to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds – is, at its core, an American story. We’re so pleased to see this multi-faceted tale come to theaters across the country.”- Marielena Hincapié, Executive Director of the National Immigration Law Center (NILC)
Voto Latino President and CEO María Teresa Kumar said, “The story of the Carl Hayden Robotics Team is one that needs to be told. Young Latinos have much to contribute to the tech world. That’s why we launched the VL Innovators Challenge — a $500,000 tech challenge that, like Spare Parts, highlights the contributions of young Latino innovators.”
SPARE PARTS is an inspirational true story about four undocumented Mexican high school students in Phoenix, Arizona who form a robotics club under the leadership of their school’s newest teacher, Fredi (George Lopez).
Based on the article featured in WIRED magazine, “La Vida Robot” (read the article HERE), SPARE PARTS recounts how a rag tag team with no experience, $800, used car parts and a dream, goes up against the country’s reigning robotics champion, MIT. On their journey, they learn not only how to build a robot, but also how to build a bond that will last a lifetime.