The Room of Bones (El Cuarto de los Huesos)

THE ROOM OF BONES follows the passage of four mothers in the Institute for Legal Medicine as they search for their children’s remains in the midst of three decades of social violence in El Salvador. Across Mexico and Central America, the last twenty years have been plagued by a meteoric and troubling rise in desaparecidos, or missing persons. Mass murder has become all too common, and the identity of the perpetrators remains unknown as the relationship between governments, gangs, and other criminal organizations is shrouded in mystery. As civil and legal systems have failed to thoroughly investigate the crisis, families of victims are left to seek closure and justice on their own. Salvadoran filmmaker Marcela Zamora profiles a group of forensic anthropologists in her home country tasked with the noble but gruesome work of unearthing human remains and matching them with names of desaparecidos. The result is a harrowing portrait of a region in crisis.
Learn more

Absences (Ausencias)

ABSENCES, by award winning filmmaker Tatiana Huezo (The Tiniest Place), exposes the ever-intensifying phenomenon of enforced disappearance in Mexico. A boy and his father disappear one morning, snatched off the road by armed men. Left behind, alone with her daughter, Lulu, a victim who refuses to give in, decides to tell the unacceptable story: the unfillable void, the absence of loved ones, the unanswered questions and the suffocating silence. After 5 years, absence has her living in a limbo that gives way to desire, hope and the struggle to find her 9-year old son Brandon and her husband, alive. This hauntingly beautiful short film illuminates the way disappearance affects women, and broadens our awareness on disappearance and its social consequences in Mexico and Central America.
Learn more

Beautiful Sin

BEAUTIFUL SIN tells a surprising reproductive rights story, one that resonates from Central America to the United States and beyond. What if you desperately wanted a baby, but your country and religion prohibited you from trying the one medical treatment that could help you? In 2000, anti-abortion activists, with the help of the Catholic Church and a U.S. group, won a legal case that banned in vitro fertilization (IVF) in Costa Rica and gave the embryo legal rights, making Costa Rica the only country in the world to outlaw the treatment. BEAUTIFUL SIN tells the decade-long story of three couples struggling with infertility who take the Costa Rican government before an international human rights court to demand the right to use IVF. Filmmaker Gabriela Quirós charts the emotional journey of these couples as they contend with infertility and explores the legal ramifications of reproductive rights. It’s a universal story about what happens when state power and religious ideology clash with the desire to have a child. Funding for this program was provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Learn more

Children of Memory (Niños de la Memoria)

Hundreds of children disappeared without a trace during the Salvadoran civil war. Many were survivors of massacres carried out by the U.S.-trained Salvadoran army. Taken away from the massacre sites by soldiers, some grew up in orphanages or were "sold" into adoption abroad, not knowing their true history or identity. The film follows Margarita Zamora, an investigator with human rights organization Pro-Búsqueda as she traverses the Salvadoran countryside probing memory, swabbing DNA samples, and searching for disappeared children - including her own four siblings. In the United States, Jamie Harvey, adopted from El Salvador in 1980, dreams of locating her birth family; but with no information, no contacts and no access to the Salvadoran military war archives, she is losing hope. CHILDREN OF MEMORY weaves together separate yet intertwined journeys in the search for family, identity and justice in El Salvador.
Learn more

Maria in Nobody's Land

MARIA IN NOBODY'S LAND is an unprecedented and intimate look at the illegal and extremely dangerous journey of three Salvadoran women to the US. Doña Inés, a 60 year old woman, has been looking for her daughter for five years and is following the same route her daughter took. Marta and Sandra, tired of the violence from their husbands and wanting to overcome poverty, decide to leave their families behind to travel to America - with only thirty dollars in their pockets. During their harrowing journey, the three women encounter prostitution, slave trade, rape, kidnapping and even death, in an unwavering quest for a better life. In making this documentary, a team of six journalists and filmographers rode with migrants on the tops of trains and slept in migrant shelters. As the immigration debate continues to be a hot button issue, this film, which helps to bring understanding to these urgent issues, is essential for courses on human rights, Latin American studies, Chicano studies, immigration, labor, international studies and women's studies, as well as for public libraries and interested community groups.
Learn more

New Directions: Women of Guatemala

Part of the new generation of Mayan women, Maria Del Carmen Chavajay and Micaela Chavajay, are two sisters who head the Health Promoter Group of San Pedro La Laguna, a group of seventy-five women that provides health education and treatment in remote areas of rural Guatemala. In a region where doctors are few or non-existent and where the cost of medical care is prohibitively high, these dedicated women address the diverse health problems that seriously affect individuals, their families and the community as a whole. Expanding their efforts beyond the health sphere, they also tackle grave social and economic injustices facing Mayan women in particular and reveal how indigenous women are changing the conditions of their lives.
Learn more

Macho

In 1998, Managua, Nicaragua became host to one of the most publicized and controversial cases of sexual abuse to hit modern day Latin America. At the epicenter of the scandal stood none other than Nicaraguan Sandinista leader and ex-President Daniel Ortega. Revered as a revolutionary hero and symbol of military strength, Ortega was accused on multiple charges of rape and battery by his stepdaughter, Soilamerica Narvaez. Despite Ortega's eventual acquittall--he was granted immunity from prosecution as a member of the legislature--a group of pioneering men rallied around the episode to organize a radical campaign against domestic violence and sexual abuse. Their efforts eventually led to the formation of the internationally acclaimed organization, Men Against Violence. MACHO, a film by Lucinda Broadbent, provides an in-depth profile of Men Against Violence and its ground-breaking work towards eliminating attitudes of male chauvinism (known as machismo in Spanish) that have perpetuated violent acts against women in Nicaragua and Latin America. The film strongly demonstrates that despite living in one of the most destitute countries in Latin America, this group has succeeded in providing a model that is used by men worldwide to discuss issues of violence and advocate for the rights of women. MACHO offers a rare glimpse at the methods used by Men Against Violence to discuss the abuse of power and the damage it causes families and communities. It also is a powerful film that challenges assumptions about "machismo" and its continued application to Latino culture. In the end, MACHO demonstrates that violence against women and sexual abuse is a worldwide epidemic that needs to be addressed by all men in every country.
Learn more

The Day You Love Me

A close-up look at the varieties and complexities of domestic violence, THE DAY YOU LOVE ME takes us into the daily life of policewomen and social workers in one of the Police Commissaries for Women and Children in Nicaragua's capital city of Managua. Women of different ages, as well as children and young adults, come there seeking help against abusive husbands, lovers and parents. They also talk freely about their experiences and their sometimes conflicting desires for change. The men in their lives come to the station to respond to the charges against them by defending themselves, justifying their actions, arguing their own grievances, or even admitting their wrongs. Actively engaged in the life of the community around the Commissary, the policewomen and social workers demonstrate their responsiveness and skill in dealing with a range of situations and abuses. In the course of documenting their day, this important film records the essential and empowering process that breaks the traditional law of silence aiding and abetting domestic violence in its many forms.
Learn more

New Directions

NEW DIRECTIONS is award-winning documentarian Joanne Burke's series about women's empowerment in developing countries. Each one spotlights the critical role women are playing as community based leaders: providing education, inspiration and practical assistance to other women in their countries. WOMEN OF ZIMBABWE (1997, 30 minutes) focuses on a group of five daring women who have taken up the challenge of creating their own future in the traditionally male field of carpentry. At its center is Fatima Shoriwa, an inspiration to many of her countrywomen. Owner of a thriving carpentry business, she also openly advocates education, family planning, safe sex practices, and economic self-sufficiency to achieve women's full voices in their own destinies. In Klong Toey, Bangkok's largest slum, Duang Prateep, a foundation created and run entirely by women, provides empowering choices and role models to the area's residents. WOMEN OF THAILAND (1997, 30 minutes) centers on Rotjana Phraesrithong, a remarkable young social worker who first came to Klong Toey as a poor, ill-educated country girl of twelve. As it follows Rotjana in her work with the women and children of Klong Toey, the film reveals how her innovative programs promote schooling for children and provide AIDS and health eduction. WOMEN OF GUATEMALA (2000, 30 minutes) is a compelling portrait of Maria Del Carmen Chavajay and Micaela Chavajay, part of the new generation of Mayan women. They head the Health Promoter Group of San Pedro La Laguna, a group of seventy-five women that provides health education and tackles the grave social and economic injustices facing Mayan women in Guatemala. In a region where doctors are few or non-existent and where the cost of medical care is prohibitively high, these dedicated women share the aspirations, insights and experiences that underscore the important contributions of Mayan women--and their roles as future leaders--in Guatemalan women's struggle for empowerment. The fourth installment of the series, SPEAKING OUT: WOMEN, AIDS AND HOPE IN MALI (2002, 55 minutes) profiles a remarkable HIV and AIDS support project in Bamako, Mali, sponsored by The Center for Care, Activity and Council for People Living with HIV (CESAC) and three brave women who tirelessly work on behalf of the infected community.
Learn more

The Devil Never Sleeps

Academy Award nominated filmmaker Lourdes Portillo (LAS MADRES: THE MOTHERS OF PLAZA DE MAYO) mines the complicated intersections of analysis and autobiography, evidence and hypothesis, even melodrama and police procedure in this ground-breaking work. Early one Sunday morning, the filmmaker receives a phone call informing her that her beloved Tio (Uncle) Oscar Ruiz Almeida has been found dead of a gunshot wound to the head in Chihuahua, Mexico. His widow declares his death a suicide. Most of his family, however, cry murder and point to a number of suspects that include the widow herself. The filmmaker returns to the land of her birth to investigate her uncle's identity and death. Finding clues in old tales of betrayal, lust, and supernatural visitation, Portillo blends traditional and experimental techniques to capture the nuances of Mexican social and family order. Poetic and tragic, humorous and mythic, this film crosses the borders of personal values, cultural mores, and the discipline of filmmaking in a fascinating look at family mysteries. THE DEVIL NEVER SLEEPS was funded by the Independent Television Service (ITVS) with funds provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Learn more

Sex and the Sandinistas

Nicaragua is known for the Sandinista Revolution, an inspiring struggle for national liberation. What has never been told before is the story of how homosexuals, in the teeth of a machista Roman Catholic culture, battled for their own space inside the Revolution. What really happened when the Sandinistas found their soldiers and revolutionary comrades falling in love with the wrong sex? The unique story is related through the drama of personal experience. Lupita tells of life as a 14 year-old urban guerilla making cocktails in her back room--and what happened when she came out as a lesbian. Alfonso explains how he discovered cottaging in Managua’s ruined Cathedral. Walleska confesses to running away to join the Sandinista People’s army at 13, and undercover lesbian relationships in uniform. In the film, ex-President Daniel Ortega analyses the struggle within the FSLN over respect for lesbian and gay rights. The gay community is shown taking sex education to the streets and into the buses in Nicaragua’s innovative AIDS program. And the emerging gay and lesbian movement asks how will they survive the threat of a hostile new government since the Sandinistas lost power? SEX AND THE SANDINISTAS also explores the hidden world of lesbian and gay culture in Managua- from safe sex demonstrations to drag shows; from lesbian love poetry to debates about butch/femme role playing; and a tribute to Nicaragua’s homosexual indigenous ancestors. Without assuming any prior knowledge of Nicaraguan history, the film brings to life the extraordinary and valuable experience of lesbians and gays coming out in the whirlwind of a Latin American revolution.
Learn more

My Filmmaking, My Life

Matilde Landeta entered the flourishing Mexican film industry in the 1930s, working her way up from script girl to direct 110 shorts and, in the late 40s, to produce and direct three features, including LA NEGRA ANGUSTIAS. In this engrossing documentary filmed in Mexico City, a vibrant Landeta, now in her 70s, recalls those years. Interviews with Mexican directors Marcela Fernandez-Violante and Maria Novaro enrich this illuminating tribute. Produced by Jane Ryder.
Learn more

From Here, From This Side

The relationship between Mexico and its rich neighbor to the north has always been ambiguous. Using mostly stock footage, this collage-like documentary “stars” Robert Redford, John Gavin and Superman in an exploration of the largest border separating the First and the Third World—that separating the United States of Mexico from the United States of America. Incorporating texts by Octavio Paz and others, images from Mexican melodramas and Hollywood movies, this film forces American viewers to consider the question of cultural imperialism from “the other side.”
Learn more

An Island Surrounded by Water

A beautiful and poetic account of a young girl's search for her mother, who left mysteriously to join a guerilla movement. The narrative combines her real and imagined journey through the landscape of Mexico with her passage into adulthood. This, Novaro's first film, won the best fictional short award from Mexico's Academy of Film Arts and Sciences.
Learn more

After the Earthquake

This dramatic story follows a young Nicaraguan immigrant, Irene, as she faces the challenges of life in the U.S. and re-evaluates her relationships with her boyfriend and family. AFTER THE EARTHQUAKE explores the immigrant experience, particularly the cultural, political and economic differences between life in North and Latin America. Written with Nina Serrano, Lourdes Portillo was nominated for an Academy Award for her next film, LAS MADRES DE LA PLAZA DE MAYO, produced with Susana Munoz.
Learn more
Shopping Cart