When back in 1982, Pamela Yates made a documentary about the civil war in Guatemala, she could not have imagined that her research would be used to indict army officers who were responsible for war crimes one day. In Granito, Yates and four other experts bring together their personal investigations to contribute their granito, their grain, to ending impunity.
“If anyone talks about what happened during the conflict and points out the guilty parties, it doesn’t take all that much to kill him”, says Fredy Peccerelli Monterroso, forensic scientist in Guatemala. The mass murder of some 200,000 Maya Indians has been stifled for decades. Reports went missing and survivors did not dare speak out.
In 2005, though, an extensive file containing information on abuses by former soldiers was made public. It finally gives the perpetrators an identity and allows the investigation into the crimes that have been committed and the bodies that have disappeared to start.
Film maker Pamela Yates is asked to carry out the investigation. Her 1982 documentary When the Mountains Tremble, in which Nobel prize winner Rigoberta Menchú made her first public appearance, contains important confessions and testimonies. In Granito, Yates complements shocking footage realized thirty years ago with the experiences and knowledge of lawyers, forensic scientists and other experts.
Previous editions of the festival saw Yates’ documentaries The Reckoning, about the International Criminal Court, and State of Fear, about the terrorist movement Shining Path in Peru.