Latin American films at 2015 Human Rights Watch Film Festival in London



The 2015 Human Rights Watch film festival comes to London next week with a strong Latin American representation. The festival is taking place from 18-27 March at the Barbican, the Curzon (Soho), the Ritzy (Brixton) and the British Museum.

Even with the cancellation of the European premiere of Beyond My grandfather Allende, a documentary made by the Chilean president’s granddaughter, the four Latin American titles will make for compelling viewing.

Peru, Sendero Luminoso and peasant revolts

“I want to understand why [my aunt] started a war”.

Mikael Wiström’s Storm In The Andes tells the story of two young women searching to uncover the truth of their ancestors in a bloody period of Peruvian history. Josefin Ekermann who grew up in Sweden, travels to Peru against her family’s wishes to find out the real story about her Peruvian aunt, Augusta La Torre. La Torre created the Maoist guerrilla movement, Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) with her husband, Abimael Guzman.

In Peru, Wiström introduces Josefin to Flor, whose father was the leader of a successful peasant rebellion against landlords in 1974. Flor is trying to find out why her oldest brother was arrested and killed during the conflict..

Guatemala, genocide, Claudia Paz y Paz and human rights

Joey Boink’s Burden of Peace follows Guatemala’s first female attorney general, Claudia Paz y Paz. It was Paz y Paz who prosecuted dictator Efraín Ríos Montt for his genocide against Mayan Guatemalans. But her determined efforts encounter strong resistance from powerful elites. Boink’s film provides extraordinary access to Paz y Paz, and allows viewers to witness her battle to bring powerful criminals and corrupt politicians to justice. Joey Boink will attend the festival.

Colombia, Antanas Mockus and the political system

Andreas M. Dalsgaard’s Life is Sacred examines how Antanas Mockus, presidential candidate in 2006 and 2010, attempted to reverse Colombia’s cycle of violence with an imaginative election campaign. Mockus, who won respect as a Maths professor at a public university, was Mayor of Bogotá. He was often dressed in a superhero costume, trying to re-write the wrongs of the city. Andreas Dalsgaard will attend the festival.

Nicaragua’s abortion ban

Alessandra Zeka and Holen Sabrina Kahn’s film A Quiet Inquisition follows Dr. Carla Cerrato, a gynaecologist and obstetrician. In her daily life Dr. Cerrato must decide whether to adhere to Nicaragua’s ban on abortion ban or provide care that can save a woman’s life.

The law, implemented by current president Daniel Ortega in 2007, entirely prohibits abortion, even in cases of rape, incest, or when a woman’s life is at stake. The film highlights the reality of the prohibition against the backdrop of a complex political and religious national identity. Alessandra Zeka and Holen Sabrina Kahn will attend the festival.