2011 Sundance Docs in Focus: GRANITO

Director Pamela Yates is back at Sundance as part of the Documentary Premieres with her latest film, GRANITO, which looks at the genocide of the Mayan people, and how one of her previous documentaries has played a pivotal role in seeking justice.

Sundance Program Description:

Sometimes a film makes history; it doesn’t just document it. Such is the case with GRANITO, the astonishing new film by Pamela Yates. Part political thriller, part memoir, GRANITO takes us through a riveting, haunting tale of genocide and justice that spans four decades, two films, and in many ways, Yates’s own career.

Embedded in GRANITO is Yates’s seminal 1982 film, WHEN THE MOUNTAINS TREMBLE, which introduced the world to the tragedy of the genocide carried out against the Mayan people by the Guatemalan government and propelled Mayan activist Rigoberta Menchú to the international stage. During filming, Yates was allowed to shoot the only known footage of the army as it carried out the genocide. Twenty-five years later, this film and its outtakes become evidence in an international war-crimes case against the former commander of the army, and Yates reunites with Menchú, now a Nobel laureate, and others who continue to contribute their granito (tiny grain of sand) in a continuing quest for the truth.

Some Background:
Yates has had a staggering five previous docs in Park City – two of them even predate the festival’s official use of the name “Sundance!” The above-mentioned WHEN THE MOUNTAINS TREMBLE won the Documentary Special Jury Prize at the 1984 Utah/US Film Festival (Sundance’s original name), while TEATRO! screened in the 1990 edition. She was back the next year, the first festival under the name Sundance, with TAKEOVER, returned in 1997 with POVERTY OUTLAW, and was most recently back in 2009 with THE RECKONING: THE BATTLE FOR THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT.

Why You Should Watch:
If you’ve ever watched a film about social justice and doubted it really had the power to affect any real change, you should see GRANITO.

Screening Info:
For screening dates and times at Sundance, click the link in the first paragraph above. The film also has an official website, which includes a mailing list sign-up, and a Facebook page to help audiences stay updated on future screenings and other developments.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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