University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Reframing Mass Violence: Granito — How to Nail a Dictator, Feb. 6, 2014

Granito: How to Nail a Dictator

February 6, 2014, 3:00-4:30pm
St. Anthony Main Theater
115 SE Main St, Minneapolis

Screening and discussion with the film‘s director and producer, Pamela Yates and Paco de Onis.


Download as: audio, podcast video, or original.

Session 2 in the public, one-credit course Reframing Mass Violence: Human Rights and Social Memory in Latin America and Southern Europe.

In a stunning milestone for justice in Central America, a Guatemalan court recently charged former dictator Efraín Rios Montt with genocide for his brutal war against the country’s Mayan people in the 1980s — and Pamela Yates’ 1983 documentary, When the Mountains Tremble, provided key evidence for bringing the indictment. The extraordinary story of how a film, aiding a new generation of human rights activists, became a granito — a tiny grain of sand — that helped tip the scales of justice.

Pamela Yates is an American documentary filmmaker and co-founder of Skylight Pictures. Four of her films have been nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.

Paco de Onis is the producer of Granito, and a partner at Skylight Pictures. He has previously produced documentaries for PBS, National Geographic and a range of other programs.

Granito: How to Nail a Dictator is a story of destinies joined by Guatemala’s past, and how a documentary film intertwined with a nation’s turbulent history emerges as an active player in the present. In Granito our characters sift for clues buried in archives of mind and place and historical memory, seeking to uncover a narrative that could unlock the past and settle matters of life and death in the present. Each of the five main characters whose destinies collide in Granito are connected by Guatemala’s past.  In 1982, Guatemala was engulfed in an armed conflict during which a genocidal “scorched earth” campaign by the military killed nearly 200,000 Maya people including 45,000 disappeared. Now, as if a watchful Maya god were weaving back together threads of a story unraveled by the passage of time, forgotten by most, our characters become integral to the overarching narrative of wrongs done and justice sought that they have pieced together, each adding their granito, their tiny grain of sand, to the epic tale.

Listen to the Human Rights Watch Podcast on Granito: [Click here to listen/download]

Watch Granito, Every Memory Matters about the film’s sister project: []

Organized by the IAS Reframing Mass Violence Research Collaborative. Cosponsored by the Human Rights Program, and the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies.13469350881346858785granito-940x390

Tagged , , , ,

Related Posts

One Comment

  1. erge@global-yurtdisi-egitim.comFebruary 5, 2014 at 5:07 amReply

    we shouldn’t forget about the goverments which support dictators for political reasons too.. (such as Sarkozy/Kaddafi)

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *