Monday, April 16, 2012

A must watch!

Good Day Readers:

While blogging this morning caught a fascinating interview with documentary filmmaker Pamela Yates on The Current.

It began as a film to document, the plight of the indigenous people of Guatemala in the midst of a brutal counter-insurgency campaign. Thirty years later, it is a documentary that offers evidence on celluloid in a bid to put Efrain Rios Mont on trial for genocide, the former General and Guatemalan President who has just lost his bid for amnesty in his own country. Filmmaker Pamela Yates weighs in on How to Nail A Dictator.

Have a watch then a listen - fascinating story! You can hear the complete 27-minute interview on The Current.

Clare L. Pieuk

About This Project

Join Us on an Indie Run to the Oscars With "Granito"!

"Granito" is a unique story of destinies joined by Guatemala’s past, about how a documentary film intertwined with a nation’s turbulent history emerges as an active player in the present. In 1982, Pamela Yates went to Guatemala to direct her first documentary "When the Mountains Tremble" in the middle of an ongoing genocide during the regime of General Efraín Ríos Montt. A quarter century later, film outtakes from "When the Mountains Tremble," as well as secret military documents and skeletal remains unearthed by courageous human rights defenders, are all being used in a genocide case to prosecute the military dictators that ordered the genocide of the Maya people, resulting in 200,000 killed.

"Granito" means "tiny grain of sand," and is a Maya concept of collective change, about how all of us persevering together over time can cause change and bring justice to society. "Granito" the film illustrates this concept and received a sustained standing ovation at the Sundance Film Festival. Now we want this message of positive change to reach the tens of millions of people who will tune in to the Oscars next year without selling our souls, political independence and control of our film to the big theatrical distributors. We don't have anything against the theatrical distributors, we simply have different priorities. Distributors want to fill theaters, and if they don't, they put your film on a shelf and it's forgotten. For over 25 years we've been going way beyond that, making our films available far and wide by streaming them online, implementing campaigns to mobilize people around social justice causes. In the case of "Granito," we will launch a campaign in Guatemala, in partnership with the Forensic Anthropology team featured in the film, to restore the collective memory of the genocide and make it available in an online public archive.

In order to make an independent Oscar run we need to fulfill the Academy rules, which are:

1. A one-week run in both a New York and a Los Angeles theater, with advertising. This means we have to rent a theater in both cities for one week and buy advertising ($8,000)

2. A 35-millimeter print of the film for projection in the theaters. This means we have to convert "Granito", which was shot on HD video, into 35mm, a very expensive process ($27,000). It may seem crazy that in this day and age they won't accept HD video projection for Oscar qualification, but those are the rules.

So become a granito and join us as we bypass the big distributors so that we can qualify for an Oscar nomination on our own terms! Then we'll all get together with mass audiences on Oscar Night 2012 to celebrate the launch of "Granito" into the big wide world with the message that we can all do our part, add our granito, in the pursuit of justice for the victims of genocidal dictators.
    Ask a question Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly. 

    Pamela Yates was born and raised in the Appalachian coal-mining region of Pennslyania, ran away from home at 15 to live in New York City where she eventually earned a degree (New York University) in filmmaking.

    Her third film, Granito, released in 2011 is a sequel to, When the Mountains Tremble in which she uses her archives to provide evidence for a war crimes tribunal set in Spain (using the concept of universal jurisdiction) in efforts to prosecute the genocide in Guatemala. Granito was an official selection included in the Premiere Documentary Section of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival for which she received a Guggenheim Fellowship.


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