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DocsMX Honors Pamela Yates and Paco de Onís with Retrospective

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DocsMX Honors Pamela Yates and Paco de Onís with Retrospective

Skylight Pictures honored at 17th edition of Mexico’s oldest and longest running documentary film festival

New York, NY – October 4, 2022 –Pamela Yates and Paco de Onís will be honorees at the 17th edition of DocsMX, Mexico’s oldest and longest running documentary film festival, running this year from October 13-23 in Mexico City.

The festival will honor Skylight Pictures, the not-for-profit media organization founded by Pamela and Paco in 1981 with a mission to combine cinematic arts with the quest for justice to inspire the defense of human rights. Over four decades, Skylight films and programs have strengthened social justice movements and catalyzed collaborative networks of artists and activists.  

The retrospective features documentaries that span the years of Skylight’s existence from its founding in 1981 until the present in four distinct programs: Skylight in Latin America; Skylight in the World; Skylight in the U.S.; and Jewels of Cinema Activism. In addition to conversations with audiences after the films, Pamela and Paco will present their master class at Universidad de la Comunicación in Mexico City and talk about their forthcoming feature Borderland.

The Skylight retrospective will take place over one week. The programs are as follows:

  • Skylight in Latin America will feature the classic of political cinema, When the Mountains Tremble (1983), the story of Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchú. Sunday, Oct. 16th at 8pm at the Cineteca Nacional México.
  • Skylight in the World will present The Reckoning (2009) the tumultuous battle for the establishment of the International Criminal Court. Monday, Oct. 17th at 8pm at the Goethe-Institut Mexiko.
  • Skylight in the U.S. offers Resurgence (1981) the struggle for equality versus the Ku Klux Klan and Takeover (1991) about homeless people who came out of the shelters and into the streets to take over abandoned houses in a nationally coordinated movement. Wednesday, Oct. 19th at 6pm at Cinemanía.
  • Jewels of Cinema Activism will show Skylight’s most recent film release, 500 YEARS (2017), the third in their Guatemala trilogy “The Resistance Saga.  From a historic genocide trial to the overthrow of a president, 500 YEARS tells a sweeping story of mounting resistance played out in Guatemala’s recent history told through the actions and perspectives of the majority indigenous Maya population, who stand poised to reimagine their society. Friday, Oct. 21st at 8pm at the Goethe-Institut Mexiko.

Mexican, Guatemalan and U.S. Filmmakers:
Three Generations of Solidarity Across the Americas

Two of Mexico’s most venerable filmmakers, Berta Navarro (Pan’s Labyrinth, The Devil’s Backbone, Cronos) and Gonzalo Infante (Naica: Secrets of the Crystal Cave), will join the opening night of the Skylight retrospective on October 16th at the Cineteca Nacional México. Berta and Gonzalo mentored Pamela in the early 1980s, helping her make When the Mountains Tremble during Guatemala’s brutal civil war.

And at the closing night screening of 500 YEARS Pamela and Paco will introduce one of the film’s protagonists Andrea Ixchíu, Maya K’iche’, who has since become a film director and has embarked on her first feature length documentary, supported by the Mexican Film Institute (IMCINE) called Elijimos Dignidad (We Choose Dignity).

Across three generations, Berta, Gonzalo, Pamela, Paco and Andrea have shared ideas about how to achieve excellence in filmic storytelling that exposes injustice, illuminates courageous actors in history, and suggests solutions, while also deeply engaging audiences.


Press notes:
Pamela Yates and Paco de Onís will be available for interviews from Sunday, October 16 – Friday October 21st in Mexico City, and before that via email or virtual interview, email or text Pamela Yates to schedule. High resolution film stills and headshots are available here.

About the Filmmakers

Pamela Yates is the Co-Founder of Skylight and an Academy Award, Emmy Award, and Overseas Press Club Award winning filmmaker. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship for her film Granito: How to Nail a Dictator which was used as key forensic evidence in the genocide trial against Efraín Ríos Montt in Guatemala. She received a Sundance Special Jury Award for  When the Mountains Tremble. Her films have been featured in cinemas, broadcast internationally and distributed globally in multiple languages.

Paco de Onís is the Executive Director of Skylight. As the producer of the feature documentaries and innovative media tools he is dedicated to advancing social justice and creating long-term strategies for positive social change. One of these long-term strategies is SolidariLabs, Skylight’s model for creating human rights media ecosystems in conjunction with committed filmmakers, artists, technologists and human rights defenders, with the aim of building enduring networks to promote social justice. One of the initiatives to emerge from SolidariLabs is VIVX, a mutual support network for human rights and environmental defenders in México, Guatemala, and Colombia. 

About Skylight

Skylight amplifies the voice of constituencies struggling for social justice and their rights since its founding in 1981 by Pamela Yates, Newton Thomas Sigel and Peter Kinoy. The stories Skylight produces – from documentary films to a range of digital media projects – creates an ecosystem that strengthens a culture of rights and engaged citizenship. The organization combines storytelling arts with human rights strategies in the service of social movements, a process that has made it a part of battles to change narratives around the world. 

Newton Thomas Sigel co-directed Resurgence and When the Mountains Tremble with Pamela Yates, in addition to being the cinematographer. He now is a respected Director of Photography on films like Bohemian Rhapsody, Drive, The Usual Suspects and X-Men.

Peter Kinoy produced and edited When the Mountains Tremble, as well as edited Takeover, and Resurgence, The Reckoning and 500 YEARS. He is part of the New York State Poor People’s Campaign and is currently editing Skylight’s most recent film now in post-production, Borderland

About DocsMX

DocsMX is the first and oldest non-fiction film festival in México. The festival shares the best of national and international cinema and reaches thousands of people. DocsMX has been able to support hundreds of young Mexican and international filmmakers and their projects. In 2022 they will celebrate the 17th edition from October 13-23, 2022 in cinemas in Mexico City.

James Thacher

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