Acclaimed author Rudolfo Anaya’s classic novel “Bless Me, Ultima” comes to life in a new family movie opening nationwide on Friday. The film stars award-winning veteran actress Miriam Colon and introduces audiences to new 12-year-old actor, Luke Ganalon, and is written and directed by Carl Franklin, known for “One False Move” and “Devil In A Blue Dress.”
Many consider Anaya to be among the U.S.’s best writers.
Executive Producer Christy Walton read the highly praised book over 25 years ago and said she always felt it would make a great film. “I’m proud to say that “Bless Me, Ultima” is a wonderful movie as well as a wonderful book,” Walton said.
“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 in the 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 World and I Magazine had this to say 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,” the movie, brings the same level of enchantment to the movie screen.
“Bless Me, Ultima” opens Feb. 22nd in select theatres nationwide. For local theaters and times, go to Fandango.com or Movietickets.com.
The film is rated PG 13. For more information: BlessMeUltima.com
Distributed by Latino Print Network