The Human Rights Watch Film Festival returns to London on 23rd March until 1st April and features two films on Guatemala, both directed by Pamela Yates.
When the Mountains Tremble was filmed in 1982. “In the early 1980s, death squads roamed the Guatemalan countryside in a war against the unarmed indigenous population that went largely unreported in the international media. Filmmakers Pamela Yates and Newton Thomas Sigel threw themselves into the task of bringing the crisis to the world’s attention by making a documentary that took them into remote areas of the country where civilian massacres were taking place. Central to their story is Rigoberta Menchú, a Maya indigenous woman who was spurred into radical action by the murders of her father and two brothers.”
“Part political thriller, part memoir, Granito takes us through a haunting tale of genocide and justice that spans four decades, two films, and filmmaker Pamela Yates’s own career. Granito is a story of destinies joined together by Guatemala’s past and of how a documentary film from 1982, When the Mountains Tremble, emerges as an active player in the present by becoming forensic evidence in a genocide case against a military dictator. In an incredible twist of fate, Yates was allowed to shoot the only known footage of the army as it carried out the genocide. Twenty-five years later, this footage becomes evidence in an international war crimes case against the very army commander who permitted Yates to film. Irrevocably linked by the events of 1982, each of the film’s characters is integral to the country’s reconstruction of a collective memory, the search for truth, and the pursuit of justice.”