“Granito” triumphs in Guatemala

March 6, 2012

The filmmakers at Granito's screening in Guatemala City. Photo Skylight Pictures.

Granito finally made it to Guatemala. The documentary by Pam Yates and Paco de Onís about the quest to indict the Guatemalan military responsible for massive murder during the Civil War, which ALBA screened at its Human Rights Film Festival last fall, and which features this year’s winners of the ALBA/Puffin Award for Human Rights Activism, was screened at the National Theater. Our friends at Skylight pictures report:

We stepped onto the stage of the Teatro Nacional in Guatemala City as the credits rolled after the long anticipated Guatemala premiere of Granito: How to Nail a Dictator (Spanish title: Granito de Arena).  The huge hall was filled to the rafters with 2500 people who rose to give a sustained standing ovation (see the video here), which only increased in volume as the people that appear in the film joined us on stage.  When Maya leader Antonio Caba Caba came up, the crowd erupted.  We are so humbled and gratified by this resounding embrace of Granito by the people of Guatemala.  And in an uncanny juncture with justice, the dictator inGranito, General Efraín Ríos Montt, appeared before a judge the same day as the premiere to petition for his case to be dismissed, and was denied – he will stand trial for genocide.  When we announced the judge’s decision at the premiere, it elicited another burst of applause – Guatemalans have been waiting 30 years for Ríos Montt to face justice.

Already since the March 1 premiere we’ve received dozens of requests to show the film in universities, Maya communities, civil society organizations and churches all over the country.  We are releasing Granito in Spanish and the Maya languages K’iche and Ixil as well.  Along with Granito, we have launched a project with Guatemalan civil society organizations to restore the collective memory of the years of armed conflict, called Granito: Every Memory Matters (Granito: Cada Memoria Cuenta).  The history of those terrible years is not taught in Guatemala, and the goal of this project is to make the historical memory available in a public archive, and raise public awareness so that that history never repeats itself.  If you have a memory of the Guatemalan conflict to share, or know of anyone who might, or just want to take a look and get involved, please visit the project – you can learn more about it by clicking here: granitomem.com

Paco de Onís, Pamela Yates, Peter Kinoy, Bea Gallardo