About this project
Join Us on an Indie Run to the Oscars With "Granito"!
"Granito" is a unique story of destinies joined by Guatemala’s past, about how a documentary film intertwined with a nation’s turbulent history emerges as an active player in the present. In 1982, Pamela Yates went to Guatemala to direct her first documentary "When the Mountains Tremble" in the middle of an ongoing genocide during the regime of General Efraín Ríos Montt. A quarter century later, film outtakes from "When the Mountains Tremble," as well as secret military documents and skeletal remains unearthed by courageous human rights defenders, are all being used in a genocide case to prosecute the military dictators that ordered the genocide of the Maya people, resulting in 200,000 killed.
"Granito" means "tiny grain of sand," and is a Maya concept of collective change, about how all of us persevering together over time can cause change and bring justice to society. "Granito" the film illustrates this concept and received a sustained standing ovation at the Sundance Film Festival. Now we want this message of positive change to reach the tens of millions of people that will tune in to the Oscars next year without selling our souls, political independence and control of our film to the big theatrical distributors. We don't have anything against the theatrical distributors, we simply have different priorities. Distributors want to fill theaters, and if they don't, they put your film on a shelf and it's forgotten. For over 25 years we've been going way beyond that, making our films available far and wide by streaming them online, implementing campaigns to mobilize people around social justice causes. In the case of "Granito," we will launch a campaign in Guatemala, in partnership with the Forensic Anthropology team featured in the film, to restore the collective memory of the genocide and make it available in an online public archive.
In order to make an independent Oscar run we need to fulfill the Academy rules, which are:
1. A one-week run in both a New York and a Los Angeles theater, with advertising. This means we have to rent a theater in both cities for one week and buy advertising ($8,000). 2. A 35-millimeter print of the film for projection in the theaters. This means we have to convert "Granito", which was shot on HD video, into 35mm, a very expensive process ($27,000). It may seem crazy that in this day and age they won't accept HD video projection for Oscar qualification, but those are the rules.
So become a granito and join us as we bypass the big distributors so that we can qualify for an Oscar nomination on our own terms! Then we'll all get together with mass audiences on Oscar Night 2012 to celebrate the launch of "Granito" into the big wide world with the message that we can all do our part, add our granito, in the pursuit of justice for the victims of genocidal dictators.
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