Dowser is welcoming new writers/contributors; please send us a note at with a writing sample.

Films with Impact – Granito: How to Nail a Dictator

   /   Dec 22nd, 2011News

Granito stitches together two stories: a documentation of Guatemala’s “secret war” in 1982, and today’s efforts to disclose the  truths of Montt’s regime.

For Paco de Onis, the movie’s producer and his colleagues, director Pamela Yates and editor Peter Kinoy, at New York-based Skylight Pictures, the story of Guatemala’s recent past has captured them — and their audiences — repeatedly.  For those who’ve questioned if documentary films actually make a social impact, Granito destroys those doubts.  The film which looks at the Guatemalan war from the early 1980s is a unique project because the director, Pamela Yates, actually shot the footage back in 1982 herself.

At the time she was working on another documentary, When the Mountains Tremble, which went on to win countless awards at film festivals.  It captured a sliver of Guatemalan history, narrated by Nobel Peace Prize Winner Rigoberta Menchu, that’s ignored in the country’s schools today and is largely unknown to Americans.  In 1982, while filming the battle between the right wing government’s military and the local Mayan people and guerrilla fighters, Yates happened to get an interview with then Guatemalan president (or rather, military dictator) Efraín Ríos Montt.

Fast forward about 30 years later: an international lawyer approached Yates requesting excerpts and outtakes of the interview that would help her frame a genocide case against Montt.  Yates had the documentary evidence in old film reels.  And that’s how Granito was born.

“There are people coming out of the film, crying, overwhelmed by it.  They didn’t know that such a thing happened in Guatemala and they’re surprised that it’s not been talked about more,” de Onis says.

That’s why Skylight Pictures has been religiously showing the film at a variety of venues from the prestigious Sundance film festival to college campuses and this coming summer, the documentary will be aired nationally on PBS.

“There are so many college programs on international law, humanitarian issues.  So, we take our work to the classrooms as well, not just film festivals,” de Onis emphasizes.

But for the communities in Guatemala and their offspring around the world, the story has a personal significance that Skylight Pictures wants to put into one central platform, a way for them to craft the larger narrative of those years under Montt’s reign.  For that, they’re using a crowdsourcing approach, inviting people to share their stories and images that will be placed in an online public archive.

“We’re going to try to begin a conversation across the generations to try to take away the fear about talking about the genocide,” says Yates in an informational video, describing the project.

De Onis explains that the idea was actually homegrown, something that they kept on hearing while shooting the documentary, Granito, in Guatemala.   “It sparked a lot of anger in some cases, as to why was this history not shared with us before, especially among young people.  So, it came out of those requests to collect all these stories,” he says.

The project will have several components: the original documentary will be shown to young Guatemalans to give them some historical context; for the elders, it’s an effort to reawaken their memories; then, the young ones will interview an elder member of the family to get a memory – either in text,  in an image, or if possible, in a video.  All of these stories will then be threaded together in the Granito: Every Memory Matters (GEMM) online platform.

“It’s meant to be a healing process.  It’s also meant to tip the scale towards justice,” Yates says.

But, the project doesn’t stop there.   The documentary will be translated into local languages as well.  Since there’s 22 languages in Guatemala, de Onis explains, they will be translating their work into two main dialects, K’iche and Ixil.   And in March 2012, the film will have a formal release in Guatemala.

Currently, the film is on tour with Human Rights Watch, traveling around the country.

de Onis says that the film couldn’t have a better time for its release.  2011 has seen countless protests across the world, a cry for change, he says, something that reminds him of his youth in the 60s.

“A wave of activity across the world is asking for change.  And the concept of collective change is also at the heart of the film.  So, it’s an exciting time and fits in with the film as well,”  de Onis concludes.

20 Responses

  1. [...] Dowser reported on Granito, a documentary, which has excavated old footage for a genocide case against [...]

  2. Vernemp says:

    [b][url=]Monster Headphones Cheap[/url][/b] specific added bonus tracks are common worth the cost blemishes, explaining more sensible. in a nutshell, inside event you favored Wanksta maybe in fordi membership you will prefer that. it’s mainly numerous same, appears to be are well-balanced primarily, possessing a warm and comfy mid-range to thumping striper. some muskie much earphones requirements becomes “dull” in addition blurry, just specific isn your situation for this beats by dr dre. my styles that aid will definitely be e -, painful rock n roll, in addition,yet the middle of tempo cool-tore, although other one makes are really good usually.

    [b][url=]beats by dre cheap[/url][/b] on the other hand, unique life very outstanding. i would they remain a luxury their lives. They can afford the most costly products and never have to worry about finance. frequency buyers agree to friendships using the thought that they can modify some other person later. This is never need smart! Both that appeals to you that you match, normally you don’t. Nobody can alter another man, the consumer would need to possess want to modify the puppy personally, in addition this initially factor to vary could be described as approval immediately after willingness to develop the refinancing,

    [b][url=]beats cheap[/url][/b] does not just many sleeves shirts, regrettably exercising slacks can an important part of sportswear. huge expands and flexes desire the most effective and free advancement among lower limbs and it is crucial associated with men slip on more so designed shorts so they can allow them total adaptability through pilates presentations exercise routines and. unusual skirts may be unable to handle pressure ture of elongates and will result in hindrances in exercise.

    [url=]Hermes Brlt[/url]

    [url=]Hermes Men S Belt[/url]

    [url=]Hermes Belt Ebay[/url]

    [url=]H Belts Price[/url]

    [url=]Hermes Belt Kit[/url]

  3. See More says:

    Behind the scenes the Popular Party has dismissed the allegations as a “smear campaign” by the discredited Barcenas, who is refusing to go down alone but is intent on bringing down the party with him.

  4. Shanel says:

    Every weekend i used to pay a quick visit this web page, for the reason that i want enjoyment, for the
    reason that this this web page conations really nice funny data

    My web site :: tips for explainer videos – Shanel,

  5. animalize says:

    Your way of describing everything in this piece of writing is in fact
    good, every one be able to simply understand it, Thanks a lot.

  6. Your style is unique compared to other folks I have read stuff from.
    Thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this site.

  7. It is therefore the responsibility in the man getting slandered by unsubstantiated should certainly disprove these people? I would which Steve Kass possesses wicked flying monkeys living interior the pursue, and it also would be your responsibility to endure an agonizing community rectal quiz to help disprove typically the assert. This can be a video game liberals adore to play, since their particular growing media lapdogs can certainly make what ever state they desire on page one and also printer a a static correction on page of sixteen (if from all). Although you may have nothing at all about the gentleman, these types of unsubstantiated distortions just simply offer you and individuals like you the chance to advertise smudges. You know that that can compare with to these promises, however you employ them to try to demolish the many opponents of your respective idea of “the greater excellent. inches Nevertheless More than likely that you’ll be very angry through the calls for intended for Obama release a their college transcripts or perhaps the match his or her assures in relation to management transparency.

  8. I was recommended this web site by my cousin. I am now not sure whether or not
    this post is written through him as nobody else realize such targeted approximately my trouble.

    You’re incredible! Thank you!

  9. However,, loads of 360s accumulate a lot more dirt than the
    PS3. As there are Facebook people there are as numerous forms of Facebook friends.
    Another key chain gets the black sheep on it.

  10. Angelia says:

    1) Look for the reliable and well-known software to jailbreak iPad2 4.3.1.
    To achieve this, go to Start, press Settings, Control Panel and select Add or
    Remove Programs.

  11. An iphone arrives with a sealed battery that may cause a little bit of inconvenience.
    (1) Mike should sluggish down, both his ideas and his physique.
    This means your gadget is now disconnected from
    the Pc.

  12. For ordering and getting information see the Apple iPad
    website. Does everyone assume these ‘guards’ to have a personal connection with all these inmates?
    And why does it matter should they both get me for the web?

  13. Don’t be concerned, it’s fairly simple to get back again your chat background on your telephone.
    SOUNDHOUND (Paid out: $4.99)Identify tunes by keeping your phone in the direction of a
    speaker or artist.

  14. Besides these, Picnik also permits you to repair the
    redeye from your own photos. You can collect trees and each pressure will give you a different prize.

    Does one prefer to learn every one of the plants?

  15. But Verizon’s a large cellphone company, and they are very user-hostile…
    Only examine their premiums. Like my prime alternative, the instructions
    were an easy task to follow.

  16. Great information. Lucky me I found your blog by accident (stumbleupon).
    I have saved as a favorite for later!

  17. A hoover is the most reliable of cleansing tools; it can also be the costlier.
    You can find various sorts of vacuum with various features.
    So before buying a premier vacuum cleaner make
    sure you understand which kind of vacuum cleaner is most appropriate on your needs.

    Selecting the finest hoover might be perplexing. To help
    make things clearer you ought to know what the various kinds
    of vacuum are, what the key characteristics it is possible
    to find on a vacuum cleaner, and want you type of floors you’ll be employing a vacuum cleaner

  18. A vacuum-cleaner is the very best of cleaning tools; it may also be
    the costlier. You will find many different sorts of hoover with various characteristics.
    Therefore before purchasing a top rated hoover be sure you know what sort of hoover is most suitable for your demands.

    Choosing the best vacuum-cleaner may be vexing. To help make issues better you
    ought to know what the different kinds of hoover are, what the principal features it’s possible to find on a
    vacuum cleaner, and need you variety of flooring you’ll be utilizing a vacuum
    cleaner on.