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Notes from the Evidence Project: Documentary Film, “Granito,” Returns to Washington DC

April 16, 2012

By Laura Matias

Still from the film "Granito: How to Nail a Dictator" featuring National Security Archive senior analyst and Evidence Project director, Kate Doyle.

The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and Film Fest DC invite you to the screening of “Granito: How to Nail a Dictator.” “Granito” was released at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah on January 2011. On June 17, 2011 the film launched the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival in New York City. This year, the film will be shown as part of a Film Fest DC lineup of movies focused on Latin America illustrating the complex aspects of life today.

The documentary features National Security Archive senior analyst and forensic archivist, Kate Doyle. In the documentary, she speaks about the evidence that archivists have collected over the years in the form of declassified U.S. government documents, and leaked Guatemalan government and military documents that were smuggled out of the country. See her own perspective from “Granito’s” premiere at the Sundance Film Festival last year, and read a review of the film written by a National Security Archive staff member.

About the Film:

“Granito” is based on footage collected by Pamela Yates and her colleague Thomas Sigel during the Guatemala 1982 “secret war” undertaken by the right wing military government and the leftist guerrilla movement. Original footage was used to produce the fascinating documentary “When the Mountains Tremble”, narrated by the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize winner and indigenous activist Rigoberta Menchu. Today the footage has not only promoted awareness of human rights violations in Guatemala; it has served as direct evidence in convicting the perpetrators of the human rights violations in the early 1980s under former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt.

Still from film of 30 year old film footage that provides valuable evidence in criminal trial against former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt who has been charged with genocide.

The documentary is the result of extensive collaboration between the film makers Pamela Yates, Peter Kinoy, and Paco de Onis. The ‘granitos’ featured in the film include: Freddy Peccerelli, director of the Guatemala Forensic Anthropology; Almena Bernabeu, the lead lawyer in the genocide case in the National Court in Spain; Alejandra García Montenegro, whose father Fernando García was disappeared by policy agents in 1984; Kate Doyle, National Security Archive Senior Analyst; and Antonio Caba Caba, a massacre survivor from the Mayan village of Ilom amongst many others.

The film “Granito” is the story of how extensive collaboration across professions, circumstances, and situations can bring justice to Guatemala where many of the perpetrators of human rights violations continue to enjoy impunity. In addition, the film highlights the growing importance of document analysis and the need to continue pressing governments to be transparent in the release of their documents. Government documents not only help make governments accountable for their actions, they may also be used as evidence to convict violators of human rights throughout the world and bring hope for the thousands of people who still wait for justice as a consequence of conflicts and wars.

Washington, D.C. Screenings:

“Granito” will be screened at the Landmark’s E Street Cinema:

  • Thursday  April 19, at 6:30 pm (and post-screening discussion with Pamela Yates, Paco de Onis, and Freddy Peccerelli)
  • Saturday April 21, at 6:30 pm

For more information on tickets visit the WOLA website. Hope to see you there!

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