MEXICO CITY, Mexico — Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal are both prominent figures in the film industry taking on diverse roles as actors, producers and directors. However, Luna and Bernal’s partnership extends beyond film and into helping people in their native country. Their earthquake relief fundraiser gained attention when Luna appeared on Conan recalling his experience in Mexico during the Puebla earthquake and announcing their disaster relief campaign.
Together as partners, they founded a Mexican film production company called Canana Films. Along with his successful film career, TIME recognized Bernal as part of the Top 100 Most Influential People in 2016.Their filmography is extensive with many Hispanic-inspired films such as Luna’s “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights” and Bernal’s “Coco.” Luna was nominated for and won multiple MTV movie awards as well as several others. His most recent blockbusters are “Rogue One”, playing Cassian Andor, and “Narcos: Mexico”. Gael Garcia Bernal, his counterpart, is just as decorated with nominations for a BAFTA Award in 2005 and a Golden Globe in 2016.
A Brief History
During the Mexico City earthquake on September 19, 1985, an estimated 10,000 people were killed
and more than 3,000 buildings damaged. The earthquake left the city without electricity, which resulted in a shutdown of public transit, traffic lights or communication methods. The relief efforts for this earthquake were led by local residents who tried to rescue people from the rubble and redistribute resources.
Although most of Mexico City has recovered and revamped to become a tourist attraction, adjacent areas to the metropolitan were still affected by poverty, leaving residents without public transportation, clean water and healthcare. A grassroots group called “damnificados” or “victims”
emerged, focused on helping reconstruct the infrastructure of poverty-stricken areas, inspiring other group to rise up and help. The 1985 earthquake was a wake-up call, exposing the economic disparity in Mexico City.
Puebla Earthquake Disaster
Coincidentally on September 19, 2017, another massive earthquake hit Mexico City while Luna was present. He recollected buildings collapsing and people running towards the destruction to try to rescue remaining people or pets. Luna remembered the disaster to be “scary and devastating,”
similar to his experience of the 1985 earthquake in Mexico.
Luna, in his interview with Conan, described Mexico as a country that needed its citizens to come together because of the lack of government funding and support. Luna and Bernal, in solidarity with their country, created a platform for people around the world to donate and support. The earthquake relief fundraiser was channeled through Omaze
, an online fundraising platform. Through Omaze,and Ambulante,
a non-profit documentary film festival they created to raise awareness, they raised money to support this cause.
With help from Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal’s earthquake relief fundraiser as well as other relief organizations, such as UNICEF, Mexico City was able to rebuild homes, hospitals and schools. Luna and Bernal’s visibility as celebrities helped raise international awareness for Mexico City’s vulnerability to earthquakes and fund more than half a million dollars that went directly to the victims affected.