Adela Chacon Tax left home one day for work at the age of 27 and never came back. She was beaten to death by an ex-boyfriend on her way home from work. Her story is hauntingly familiar in Guatemala, where over 5000 women have been murdered since 2000. Since the murder, Adela's sister Rebeca, 33, pounds the pavement to assure that the killer, Ricardo, receives an appropriate sentence. She spins her wheels for two years, making the rounds to push incompetent police, indifferent investigators, and the victim-blaming community. She fears that her case may be closed and the killer released because of a series of setbacks. One such setback was that the judge who was initially going to take the case was accused of killing his own wife. As a result of Rebeca's struggle, she emerges as a community leader and encourages other women to speak out against violence.
I have been traveling to Guatemala for three years following this case and collaborating with local women's organizations who work with survivors, families of victims, and are leaders in social activism. Many people have asked me in the past, "Why Guatemala?" Guatemala, a country the size of Tennessee, has some of the highest incident rates per capita of violence against women in the world. But the fact that the global community is aware of these crime rates is in great measure due to the audacity and courage of the women--activists and otherwise--who have spoken out against the violence. The remnants of violence hangs low like a heavy cloud over this country who only 13 years ago ended their civil war. This violence marks women in a very specific and gendered way to this day, but thousands of women and their partners and allies have been educating, reaching out, and disrupting the silence so as to put pressure on their government to reverse these cycles of violence. JUSTICE FOR MY SISTER examines how women mobilize themselves on a grassroots level to demand their rights and counteract a culture of normalization of violence against women and impunity.
We currently have a preliminary rough cut of the film. My editor Michael Flores and I were invited to attend the Latino Producer's Academy, where we worked on the film with esteemed mentors in Santa Fe, New Mexico for 10 days. We are pumped now that we have returned from this filmmaker's bootcamp hosted by the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP).
As a result of our success at the Latino Producer's Academy, we've been selected to partake in NALIP's inaugural year of the Latino Artist Mentorship program. NALIP will assess our project status and construct a team of mentors that can meet our needs for an entire year!
Now that we've returned to Los Angeles, we will continue working on the cut. We will then return to Guatemala with a cinematographer to finish shooting the final scenes of the film. While the $5,000 we hope to raise here on Kickstarter is only a fraction of our overall budget, it will propel our work forward greatly.
Most importantly, support from the community will really help give us momentum, as it's an indication that our friends, fans, and the wider Kickstarter community truly wants to see that we finish our film. Help get us to the next stage of our process so that we can get the word out on this urgent human rights issue!
AND we have AMAZING prizes here on Kickstarter. My ultimate goal with my film is to promote international solidarity coalition-building and many of the prizes here are an articulation of that. Check out the many feminist books and publications, plus the amazing movies about human rights, directed by fellow women filmmakers. Big thanks to all the donors of this awesome cultural work!
**Please note that the prizes from Guatemala will be available upon the crew's return to the States in December 2010, just in time for the holidays!
If you'd rather receive a tax write-off for your contribution, please write a check to our fiscal sponsor:
"Women Make Movies" with the words "Justice for my Sister" in the memo and mail to:
P.O. Box 91652
Pasadena, CA 91109
Thank you so much for your support.
Viva la mujer!
- (28 days)