Featured in Twilight Talks on CUNY TV

On Tuesday March 26, 2019, I was interviewed by Kevin Moore for his talk show Twilight Talks on CUNY TV. We discussed the kind of documentary films I do, the role of a journalist dealing with a tragedy, the current administration, etc. I hope you will be able to check it out here.

Stray Bullet making headlines in Switzerland

Should a film aim to bypass festivals and be released directly on Netflix? This is the question the major Swiss daily newspaper 24 Heures asked Jean-Cosme Delaloye, the director of STRAY BULLET. His response was unequivocally yes for his latest film. Since STRAY BULLET was released on Netflix, the feedback has been huge. It is incredible to see on Twitter the amount of people the film touched and how far it has traveled in the U.S. One of the main participants of the film has been invited to give talks to college students. People, who had relatives hurt by stray bullets, reached out to us. It has been an unbelievable experience to witness how wide the audience for this film has been. Some films might be more suited for festivals like Jean-Cosme Delaloye’s previous film - LA PRENDA - had been. But the Netflix release has been absolutely fantastic for STRAY BULLET. If you have not watched the film here, you can do so here.

LA PRENDA is coming home

 You make documentary films for nights like these. On April 19 2018, LA PRENDA screened in the magnificent auditorium of the Mexican embassy in Guatemala City. This special screening took place in the context of the FIFDH Human Rights Festival on Tour to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  After an incredible festival run that started in 2015 at Hot Docs and at the Guadalajara Film Festival, LA PRENDA came home. We missed Astrid, one of the protagonists who lives in Los Angeles, Kelly's family and Micaela's family. But Karin and Rodolfo, 2 of the main protagonists of the film, spoke for them.

Kelly Diaz Reyes was kidnapped and killed in March 2011. 

Kelly Diaz Reyes was kidnapped and killed in March 2011. 

Astrid Elias in La Prenda.

Astrid Elias in La Prenda.

They shared the stage with Supreme Court judge Maria Eugenia Morales Aceña during one of the best Q&A the film ever had. LA PRENDA sparked discussions at the highest level of Guatemalan justice system. The protagonists' quest for justice impressed Justice Morales Aceña. "The film teaches me about the life of the children is a "prenda" (a jewel)", she said after watching LA PRENDA. "It is so precious that we have to defend it. The most important thing is to try to prevent these cases". 

Supreme Court judge Maria Eugenia Morales Aceña at the Q&A for LA PRENDA with Sobrevivientes lawyer Rodolfo Diaz and Karin Gramajo Lopez. Guatemala City, April 19, 2018.

Supreme Court judge Maria Eugenia Morales Aceña at the Q&A for LA PRENDA with Sobrevivientes lawyer Rodolfo Diaz and Karin Gramajo Lopez. Guatemala City, April 19, 2018.

Swiss ambassador Hans-Ruedi Bortis presenting LA PRENDA on April 19, 2018, in Guatemala City.

Swiss ambassador Hans-Ruedi Bortis presenting LA PRENDA on April 19, 2018, in Guatemala City.

In Kelly Diaz Reyes' case, justice hasn't been achieved yet. The teenager was kidnapped and  killed 7 years ago but her family is still fighting with the lawyer Rodolfo Diaz and the Sobrevivientes Foundation to make sure the convicted murderers are not released prematurely. A visit to the "Casa de la Memoria" (House of remembrance) in Guatemala City is a powerful reminder that these cases keep happening and that people keep disappearing.

Nights like these inspire you to keep going and to keep hustling to make films that matter. Because ultimately, you get to meet courageous people like Karin, Astrid, Rodolfo, Norma Cruz, Fernando Carac Saquic, Hortensia Reyes, Don Chepe, who trust you with their story. LA PRENDA was our attempt to make it shine and to make sure it is not lost on anybody who watches the film. That is why it was such an honor to receive last night the Icaro best documentary award the film had won in 2015 when it first screened in Guatemala.  It is hard to measure the real impact of a film but this award means that the voices of Karin, Astrid, Kelly, Fernando and all the other protagonists of LA PRENDA have been heard in their own country. 

Jean-Cosme, the director of La Prenda, with Karin Gramajo Lopez, Rodolfo Diaz, Maria José Gramajo and 4-year-old Maria Fernanda Gramajo

Jean-Cosme, the director of La Prenda, with Karin Gramajo Lopez, Rodolfo Diaz, Maria José Gramajo and 4-year-old Maria Fernanda Gramajo

Icaro.JPG

Discover the new trailer of Stray Bullet

It was months in the making but here it is! We rae happy to share the new trailer of Stray Bullet, Jean-Cosme Delaloye's new feature documentary about the killing of 12-year-old Genesis Rincon in 2014 in the streets of Paterson, NJ. The film will be realeased in the U.S. soon!

Thanks to our friends at Wheelhouse Creative for their work on this trailer.

LA PRENDA (THE PAWN) at the Tolerance Film Festival in Slovenia

My film LA PRENDA (THE PAWN) about the kidnapping and rape of young women in Guatemala is screening today at the Tolerance Film Festival in Slovenia almost 3 years after its World Premiere at Hot Docs. The next screening is scheduled on April 12 at the Swiss embassy in Guatemala City in the context of the FIFDH human rights festival world tour. 

Waiting for a verdict outside a Paterson courtroom

For the past several weeks, I have spent a lot of time shooting in a trial Paterson courtroom and then waiting outside that same courtroom for the verdict. While waiting for it, I was able to capture the life on the bench next to the courtroom's door. I saw people waiting to go in for their court appearance, relatives and a lawyer waiting for a verdict, children waiting for their mom while she was in court. Here are a few snapshots taken in February.

Father and daughter waiting for verdict in Paterson, NJ