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Reporting from Sundance: Granito –A Film that “Makes History.”

January 31, 2011

VIPs of the film, 'Granito'
Granito, a new documentary from Skylight Pictures on efforts to bring about human rights justice in Guatemala, premiered last week at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, to packed audiences at four different screenings. As the Sundance film catalogue described it:

“Sometimes a film makes history; it doesn’t just document it. Such is the case with Granito, the astonishing new film by Pamela Yates. Part political thriller, part memoir, Granito takes us through a riveting, haunting tale of genocide and justice that spans four decades, two films, and in many ways, Yates’s own career. Embedded in Granito is Yates’s seminal 1982 film, When the Mountains Tremble, which introduced the world to the tragedy of the genocide carried out against the Mayan people by the Guatemalan government and propelled Mayan activist Rigoberta Menchú to the international stage. During filming, Yates was allowed to shoot the only known footage of the army as it carried out the genocide. Twenty-five years later, this film and its outtakes become evidence in an international war-crimes case against the former commander of the army, and Yates reunites with Menchú, now a Nobel laureate, and others who continue to contribute their granito (tiny grain of sand) in a continuing quest for the truth.”

Early in the week, film makers Pamela Yates, Peter Kinoy and Paco de Onis were joined by some of the amazing people whose work is featured in Granito: Fredy Peccerelli, director of the Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation, and Alejandra García Montenegro, whose father Fernando García was disappeared by police agents in 1984, flew from Guatemala to attend one of the screenings; Naomi Roht-Arriaza, legal advisor to the Guatemalan genocide case, came as well. The power of the documentary and the presence of some of the most powerful protagonists in the film prompted a sustained standing ovation during the film’s first screening at the festival.

Kinoy, Doyle, de Onis, Bernabeu, and Yates after the public screening Friday

The National Security Archive’s work is also featured in Granito, and I was lucky enough to be able to attend Friday night’s screening at the Sundance Resort along with the film makers, members of the production team, and Almudena Bernabeu, international lawyer for the Center for Justice and Accountability and lead attorney in the genocide case. Watch a clip of the questions and answers that followed the screening.

With the close of Sundance, Granito will begin touring film festivals around the world – including the Human Rights Watch festivals in London and New York – and is scheduled to broadcast on the PBS series “POV” in 2012. For all you “Unredacted” readers based in Washington, we’ll be sure to let you know when Granito comes to a movie theater near you!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Bea GallaRdo Shaul permalink
    January 31, 2011 4:40 pm

    🙂 Congratulations! for all team… a grain of sand!

  2. February 3, 2011 2:32 pm

    thanks so much for your continued work and artistic expression, in a wonderful country with most beautiful people, where I also worked and lived in 80’s and continue to do so, on the coast with small scale fishermen/women
    again congrats
    I hope to start this year on a film also, to be called ‘El Ostionero’ or ‘El Ostrero’
    the oyster diver

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  2. Granito: How to Nail a Dictator, on PBS June 28th « piran café

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