500 Years

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USA | 2017 | 108 minutes | Pamela Yates

From a historic genocide trial to the ousting of a president, director Pamela Yates tells the sweeping story of mounting resistance in Guatemala through the eyes of the majority indigenous Mayan population, who now stand poised to reimagine their society.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

  • Purchased Tickets
  • Limited Availability
  • On Standby
  • Matinee

SIFF Cinema Uptown

6:00 PM LLimited Availability Director Pamela Yates & Producer Paco (Juan) de Onis scheduled to attend

Friday, May 26, 2017

  • Purchased Tickets
  • Limited Availability
  • On Standby
  • Matinee

SIFF Cinema Uptown

3:15 PM Director Pamela Yates & Producer Paco (Juan) de Onis scheduled to attend

Locating the source of Guatemala's political woes requires a journey of not just a few decades, but of more than five centuries, as the title of Pamela Yates' latest film suggests. This documentary, chronicling the 2013 trial of former Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt for crimes of genocide, is part of a tragic arc of authoritarian rule in Guatemala since the time of the conquistadors. The film focuses on Montt's 1982-83 U.S.-aided military campaigns against the Ixil people, a tribe descended from the indigenous Mayan peoples. 500 Years completes a trilogy of Yates films about the small Central American nation, dating back to 1983's When the Mountains Tremble, about Montt's coup d'etat. The second film, Granito: How to Nail a Dictator, from 2011, shows how Yates' 1983 film was useful in getting the Guatemalan court system to indict Montt for crimes against humanity that led to the deaths of more than 200,000 Mayans. After such tragedy, 500 Years concludes on an inspiring note: Soon after Montt's sentencing, Yates followed the subsequent protest over corruption in the regime of then-president Otto Pérez Molina, which led to his downfall as well. Blending archival footage from Montt's reign of terror and in-person interviews with those on both sides of the conflict, 500 Years stands as testimony that the true power of any government comes not from leaders but from its people.

Director Biography

Pamela was born and raised in the Appalachian coal mining region of Pennsylvania. She is a founder and the current Creative Director of Skylight, which for 30+ years has been dedicated to creating artistic documentary films, digital media projects and labs that advance awareness of human rights and the quest for justice. Yates is the Academy Award winning Executive Producer of Witness to War, The Emmy Award winning Producer of Loss of Innocence, the Sundance Special Jury Award Director of When the Mountains Tremble, and the Overseas Press Club Award winner for State of Fear, which went on to be broadcast in 156 countries and translated into 48 languages. Her film Granito: How to Nail a Dictator was used as key forensic evidence by the prosecution in the genocide trial which led to the conviction of former dictator General Rios Montt in Guatemala.

Sponsored by Amazon Video Direct, Muckleshoot Tribe

  • Director: Pamela Yates
  • Principal Cast: Irma Alicia Velásquez Nimatuj, Matilde Terraza Gallego, Daniel Pascual Hernández, Andrea Ixchíu Hernández, Julio Solórzano Foppa
  • Premiere Status: Seattle
  • Country: USA
  • Year: 2017
  • Running Time: 108 minutes
  • Producer: Paco de Onis
  • Cinematographers: Melle van Essen, Rene Soza
  • Editors: Peter Kinoy
  • Music: Roger C. Miller
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Filmography: Rebel Citizen (2015); Disruption (2014); Mother Tongue (2014); Granito: How to Nail a Dictator (2011); The Reckoning (2009); State of Fear (2005); Presumed Guilty (2002); Poverty Outlaw (1997); Takeover (1991); Teatro! (1990); When the Mountains Tremble (1983)
  • Language: Spanish
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP