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500 YEARS Announces U.S. Theatrical Premiere on July 12

500 YEARS will have its U.S. theatrical premiere on July 12 at New York’s IFC Center, followed by a release in select cities. The film, which premiered to standing ovations at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, is the third and final installment in Director Pamela Yates and Editor Peter Kinoy’s epic trilogy, The Resistance Saga, which also includes Skylight’s seminal human rights films When the Mountains Tremble (1982) and Granito: How to Nail a Dictator (2011). The entire Resistance Saga trilogy was presented as a special day-long immersive event on June 11th at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival at The Film Society of Lincoln Center. The cinematic portion of the day ended once more in standing ovations by the New York audience, and was then followed by a Q&A with Yates, Kinoy, and Mayan activists Irma Alicia Velásquez Nimatuj and Andrea Ixchíu. Later this year, the documentary will then have its global streaming premiere on Amazon as part of its new Festival Stars initiative, timed to coincide with awards season.

Paladin also announced its acquisition of U.S. theatrical rights to Skylight’s latest documentary, 500 YEARS, last week on Variety.  The deal was negotiated by Mark Urman, President of Paladin, and producer Paco de Onís for Skylight.

500 YEARS tells the epic story that led Guatemala to a tipping point in their history, from the genocide trial of former dictator General Ríos Montt to the popular movement that toppled sitting President Otto Pérez Molina. Focusing on universal themes of justice, racism, power and corruption, 500 YEARS tells the story from the perspective of the majority indigenous Mayan population in Guatemala, and explores their struggles in the country’s growing fight against impunity.

As with Yates’ previous two films that she created in close collaboration with editor Peter Kinoy and producer Paco de Onís, the eagerly anticipated 500 YEARS continues the epic saga of sweeping social and political change in Guatemala. Set in the tumultuous three-year span between 2013 and 2016, the film’s gripping highpoints include the genocide trial of former dictator General Ríos Montt, in which footage from Yates’ first film When the Mountains Tremble is used as evidence by the prosecution. The trial results in the conviction of Montt, but when the verdict is overturned by Guatemala’s business and political elite, the film thrillingly captures a citizens’ uprising so massive and sustained that it ultimately topples the presidency of Otto Pérez Molina.

Urman says, “500 YEARS is both inspirational and indispensable in showing how people who share a common cause can effect change, proving that, under the right circumstances, right makes might. Pamela is a consummate storyteller who succeeds in making history visually engaging, dramatically enthralling and, most importantly, utterly universal. We know that American audiences want — and need — to see this film, and we are thrilled to be bringing it to theaters.”

Yates adds, “Paladin and Amazon Video Direct are the ideal distribution partners to bring 500 YEARS to the broadest possible audience. We look forward to working with them, and believe that they will match our passion and commitment every step of the way.”

At its sold-out screenings at Sundance this January, audiences quickly related the film’s themes of oligarchy, impunity, corruption and resistance to the new political environment in the U.S. in the days immediately following Trump’s inauguration. 500 YEARS has received standing ovations at the Full Frame, Ashland Independent Film Festivals, and Human Rights Watch Film Festival enhanced by in-person appearances by the film’s heroines, Mayan activists Irma Alicia Velásquez Nimatuj and Andrea Ixchíu, whose stories of victorious non-violent resistance have become an inspiration to audiences worldwide.

To download press materials, click here.

Media Contact: Julia Pacetti, JMP Verdant — — (718) 399-0400

For more information on the film, visit:


Ximena Amescua Cuenca

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