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Sometimes a film makes history; it doesn't just document it. So it is with "Granito: How to Nail a Dictator", the astonishing new film by Pamela Yates, Paco de On'is and Peter Kinoy. Part political thriller, part memoir, Yates transports us back in time through a riveting, haunting tale of genocide and returns to the present with a cast of characters joined by destiny and the quest to bring a malevolent dictator to justice.
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.
How can a documentary film contribute to social movements? By telling a story that captures the zeitgeist of a historical moment, that stirs and inspires audiences to reflect and to act. In this past year Granito: How to Nail a Dictator screened around the globe, from Amman to Auckland, Paris to Havana, S~ao Paulo to Vancouver, New York to Moscow, Geneva to Lima, in over 50 film festivals. In screening after screening, audiences connected to the theme of the power of collective change espoused in Granito, resonating with the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street movements. But most remarkably, Granito's release added its 'grain of sand' to the tipping point for justice reached in Guatemala this year, where more perpetrators of the genocide against the Maya people have been arrested, tried and convicted than in the previous 30 years since we released When the Mountains Tremble . And now to reinforce that tipping point, we are launching a companion digital project designed to restore the collective memory of the genocide in a public online archive, described here - Granito: Every Memory Matters . The film's journey is reflected in the Granito Facebook page, where nearly 4,000 followers have rallied, sharing stories, news, and demanding justice. And to get a sense of the people behind all of this, check out this slide show of photos of 'granitos' by renowned portraitist Dana Lixenberg.