A special premiere of the motion picture, Spare Parts, which tells the story of the Carl Hayden Robotics team beating the likes of MIT in an underwater robotics competition ten years ago, will be held Tuesday, January 6, ten days before it is released nationally.
The Arizona Premiere event will be at the Harkins Tempe Marketplace Theatre, with the festivities beginning at 4:30 p.m. Showtime is 6:20 p.m. The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Phoenix, the Cesar Chavez Foundation and Phoenix Union High School District will host the event, which is a fundraiser for a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) -focused scholarship fund with the Phoenix Union Foundation for Education for District students. A percentage of the funds will go to the Carl Hayden Falcons Robotics team.
George Lopez, who depicts the real teachers Fredi Lajvardi and Allan Cameron in the movie, will be at the premiere, along with actors Carlos Pena and Alexa Pena Vega. Lavardi, Cameron and team members will also be on hand and will participate in a Q&A with the audience at 6 p.m.
Spare Parts, which also stars Jamie Lee Curtis (as the school principal) and Marisa Tomei, is produced by Pantelion Films and directed by Sean McNamara.
It is based on a Wired Magazine article called ‘La Vida Robot,’ written by Joshua Davis that originally told the story of the underdog team of students Cristian Arcega, Lorenzo Santillan, Luis Aranda and Oscar Vazquez, and coaches Lajvardi and Cameron.
The team members were involved as consultants for the actors and story line for the movie, much of which was filmed in Albuquerque.
“That stereotype that you hear, of poor immigrant students not having the advantages that other kids have, financially, educationally, and getting them to focus on something, despite the obstacles, was pretty incredible,” Lajvardi said. “They finally had something to control, instead of all the things they couldn’t control. Second, they started to realize what they do matters, and then they began to understood how many people they affected by their story. When that hit them, they started taking ownership of it.”
“We are proud that students and teachers of Carl Hayden High School were the inspiration for this motion picture. Fredi and Allan are experts in engaging young people in project-based learning. They believe that our students will rise to whatever level of expectations is set for them,” Phoenix Union Superintendent Kent P. Scribner said.
Carl Hayden students and staff will have the first chance to see Spare Parts, with morning and afternoon showings in the school’s auditorium, January 6.