Acclaimed author Rudolfo Anaya’s classic novel “Bless Me, Ultima” is the basis for a new family movie opening nationwide on February 22nd. The film stars award-winning veteran actress Miriam Colon and introduces audiences to new 12-old actor, Luke Ganalon. “Bless Me, Ultima” is written and directed by Carl Franklin, known for “One False Move” and “Devil In A Blue Dress.” The executive producer is Christy Walton. Ms. Walton read the book over 25 years ago, and felt it would make a terrific film. Today Ms. Walton remarks, “I’m proud to say that “Bless Me, Ultima” is a wonderful movie as well as a wonderful book.”
“Bless Me, Ultima” is a magical coming-of-age story about Antonio (Luke Ganalon), a young boy growing up in New Mexico during World War II. When a mysterious curandera (natural healer), Ultima, comes to live with his family, she teaches him about the power of the spirit world. Through a series of strange events, Antonio grapples with questions about his own destiny, good vs. evil, and ultimately how to reconcile Ultima’s powers and his parents’ (Dolores Heredia & Benito Martinez) beliefs.
Antonio’s father is from a farming family connected to the earth, while his mother’s family is connected to the sky and the stars. These dual beliefs are what drive Antonio to find his place in the world.
The movie is one of the few dramatic films produced this year that the whole family can enjoy. From youngsters to grandparents, “Bless Me, Ultima” is a movie for families to watch together in theatres. There’s action, adventure, and laughs as the audience is transported to life inthe mid-1940s. Set in New Mexico’s majestic landscape, the movie reflects not only the area’s natural beauty, but also presents entertaining characters in this small town arena. Antonio attends a one-room school with a rag-tag group of youngsters, each with their own personality – and nickname. His friends include “Vitamin Kid,” “Bones,” and the big kid, “Horse.” The local priest, the town’s bartender, and the three sisters who are believed to be witches – all add to this colorful tale.
The movie is based on the much-praised book by Anaya, who many feel is one of our country’s best writers. The World and I Magazine has said about the novel, “One of the great works of Chicano literature. Young people will be enchanted and adults will recognize its depths of meaning, its haunting cultural lyricism. No reader can ask for anything more.”
“Bless Me, Ultima” is being distributed by Arenas Entertainment, the oldest Latino-owned and operated entertainment company in Hollywood. Celebrating their 25th anniversary, Arenas CEO, Santiago Pozo, said, “This film is the best anniversary present we could have ever received.”
“Bless Me, Ultima” opens on February 22nd in select theatres in
Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Miami, and Las Vegas. Other cities include, in California: Sacramento, Monterrey, Palm Springs, Fresno, Bakersfield. Arizona: Phoenix, Tucson, Yuma. Texas: Harlingen, Austin, Laredo, Odessa, Corpus Christi, Lubbock. Colorado: Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo. Florida: West Palm Beach, Orlando, and Tampa. Spanish-subtitled prints will be available in theatres in McAllen, Fort Worth, and Pasadena, Texas, as well as, Aurora, Colorado, Phoenix, Arizona, and Los Angeles. The film is rated PG 13. For more information: www.BlessMeUltima.com