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Granito Radio

Transforming a Film into a Radio Documentary

Sometimes a film makes history; it doesn’t just document it. So it is with Granito: How to Nail a Dictator, the film that helped convict former dictator General Ríos Montt in Guatemala on charges of genocide. Part political thriller, part memoir, the film transports us back in time through a riveting, haunting tale of the genocide perpetrated on the Maya people in Guatemala, committed during the regime of Ríos Montt, and returns to the present with a cast of characters joined by destiny and the quest to bring the dictator to justice. Ríos Montt was found guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity against the Ixil Maya people on May 10, 2013, and taken to prison to begin serving an 80-year sentence.  It was the first conviction ever, anywhere in the Americas, for genocide committed against indigenous peoples. In a legal maneuver reminiscent of the Jim Crow era in the American South when law was used to keep black people subjugated, the guilty verdict was “vacated” 10 days later by the Constitutional Court of Guatemala. This move fully exposed the apparatus of impunity used to protect the powerful.  The victims consider it an illegal ruling, and the overwhelming evidence presented during the trial can no longer be swept under the rug through denials and legal obfuscations. Cesar Gomez of Cultural Survival Guatemala, with the directors of Granito, created this 12-part radio documentary for broadcast on community radio stations across Guatemala.  The broadcast began during the trial, and continued through the conviction, keeping present the historical memory of the mass atrocities committed in 1982 by the Ríos Montt regime. Kara Andrade was the Project Coordinator for HablaGuate, and Bea Gallardo, Co-Producer of the film Granito: How to Nail a Dictator from Skylight Pictures, coordinated the production of this radio project in Guatemala. The Granito radio series continues to be broadcast in Guatemala today, and we are preparing a follow-up radio project based on our 24-part web video series Dictator in the Dockhighlighting key moments of the Ríos Montt trial.

Transforming a Film into a Radio Documentary

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