“GRANITO: How To Nail A Dictator”
A co-production of Skylight Pictures, Inc. and the Independent Television Service (ITVS), with funding provided by the Ford Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Director & Narrator PAMELA YATES, Executive Producer PACO DE ONIS, Editor PETER KINOY
(2011 - 103 min)
WHEN: Sunday May 26th, 2013 1:15 pm
WHERE: Community Church NY Gallery Room, 28 East 35th St. btwn Park & Madison Aves.
ADMISSION: Free, donations appreciated
LATEST ON RIOS MONTT TRIAL:
On Monday May 20, 2013 the Guatemalan Supreme Court nullified the decision made on May 10th.
More info at the screening.
On Friday May 10th 2013 a Guatemalan court found Efrain Rios Montt, the ex-president of Guatemala guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity for actions he authorized while commander of the Guatemalan military in the early 1980s. It was the first time that a head of state was found guilty of such crimes by a court in his own country. While the echoes of jubilation were still resounding in the mountain villages of the small Central American country, it was hardly covered beyond a mere mention by the U.S. media. Behind the triumphal results there lies a longer, deeper, fascinating story of the international team that spent years painstakingly putting together the case that made it all possible. “GRANITO: How To Nail A Dictator” tells that story.
Sometimes a film makes history; it doesn’t just document it. So it is with GRANITO, the astonishing new film by Pamela Yates. Part political thriller, part memoir, Yates transports us back in time through a riveting, haunting tale of genocide and returns to the present with a cast of characters joined by destiny and the quest to bring a malevolent dictator to justice.
In 1982, as a young first-time filmmaker, Yates, used her seeming naiveté to gain unprecedented access to Ríos Montt, his generals and leftist guerrillas waging a clandestine war deep in the mountains. The resulting film, WHEN THE MOUNTAINS TREMBLE (1983) revealed that the Guatemalan army was killing Mayan civilians. As Yates notes in her extraordinary follow-up film "Guatemala . . . never let me go." WHEN THE MOUNTAINS TREMBLE had re-entered her life 30 years later when a Spanish lawyer investigating the Ríos Montt regime asked for her help. She believed her first film and its outtakes just might contain evidence to bring charges of genocide under international law.
Even after Ríos Montt was deposed and a tenuous democracy restored in Guatemala in 1986, he and the generals continued to enjoy wealth, status and participation in politics. In 1999, a U.N.-sponsored truth commission concluded that genocide had been committed by the government, and that same year President Clinton declared that U.S. support for military forces and intelligence units that engaged in violence and widespread repression was wrong. Even the Guatemalan generals, who claimed that overzealous field commanders were to blame, admitted that crimes had occurred.
Fast-forward to the recent years, when lawyers and plaintiffs were seeking an international indictment in Spain, whose National Court has led the way in such cases. This is done only when local courts fail to act, and no one expected much from the Guatemalan judicial system. GRANITO is an inside, as-it-happens account of the way a new generation of human rights activists operates in a globalized, media-saturated world. It shows how multiple efforts--the work of the lawyers, the testimony of survivors, a documentary film, the willingness of a Spanish judge to assert international jurisdiction--each become a “granito”, a tiny grain of sand, adding up to tip the scales of justice.
In January 2012, after 30 years of legal impunity, former Guatemalan general and dictator Efraín Ríos Montt found himself indicted by a Guatemalan court for crimes against humanity. Against all odds, he was charged with committing genocide in the 1980s against the country's poor, Mayan people.
Found guilty on May 10th,
Decision nullified on May20th
It's NOT over!