Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, a nationally-known pastor, bestselling author, political activist and movie producer, will be the executive producer of 'Flamin' Hot', a movie that tells the rags to riches story of Richard Montañez, the Mexican immigrant who invented the hit snack Flamin' Hot Cheetos.
The movie is being made by Fox Searchlight Pictures and award-winning producer DeVon Franklin. The studio also recently announced Eva Longoria (Devious Maids) will direct the film.
"At a time when there is so much talk about immigration, it has never been more important to tell the true stories of immigrants who represent the blessing Latinos are to America. Richard Montañez is one of these people. His story captures the reality of millions of God-fearing and country-loving Hispanic Americans who want the best for their families," Rev. Rodriguez said.
Montañez welcomed Rev. Rodriguez's participation in the film, crediting him with playing a role in the decision to make the movie.
"Having Pastor Sam as an executive producer is one of the main reasons we decided on moving forward with the movie. His strategic involvement will lead a few of our main personal focuses," Montañez said.
"Sam's influence within the faith community and Hollywood is a benefit for any movie. And his constant message of country unity is inspiring, and together we believe the move will portray Latinos in a positive light and bring unity to our country in the process. Having a movie about Latinos directed by a Latina and executive produced by a Latino is historic beyond anything accomplished by the community in Hollywood. The positive message Sam personally delivers across the globe is aligned with the movie. A positive message to the world," Montañez added.
Speaking of his participation and collaboration with producer Franklin and Montañez, Rev. Rodriguez said, "Devon Franklin is the preeminent inspirational movie producer, and Richard Montañez's story is the quintessential inspirational immigrant narrative. I am honored to be a part of this amazing collaboration"
'Flamin' Hot', named after the Frito-Lay snack that became a food phenomenon, recounts the incredible story of Montañez, the son of Mexican immigrants who grew up as a farm worker in Southern California. A school dropout who struggled with reading and writing, Montañez was a janitor at a Frito-Lay factory in Rancho Cucamonga, California, when he thought about adding chili spice to a Cheeto. His initiative turned into a multibillion dollar idea and transformed him into an executive at a multinational corporation.
Today, Montañez is an author, philanthropist and vice president of multicultural sales & community activation for PepsiCo North America. His book, "A Boy, A Burrito and A Cookie," tells his childhood story of growing up in a Hispanic community in Southern California and becoming a successful businessman.
The news of Rev. Rodriguez and Longoria's addition to the movie production comes as America observes National Hispanic Heritage Month. The annual observation, usually announced by a presidential proclamation, celebrates the contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans to American life and culture.
"These are the conversations our nation needs to be having, and I cannot think of a better time to share the news this movie is being made than during Hispanic Heritage Month," Rev. Rodriguez added.
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