ICTJ Presents Granito: How to Nail a Dictator


After 30 years of impunity, former Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt was indicted for crimes against humanity and genocide earlier this year. The trial, now underway at the Supreme Court of Justice in Guatemala City, is a major milestone in the ongoing search for justice in Guatemala and the international effort to end impunity for mass atrocities.

Granito: How to Nail a Dictator, a recent documentary from Skylight Pictures, shows the international effort that has worked tirelessly to bring Montt to account for his crimes. ICTJ is pleased to announce that Granito will be aired on Thursday, June 28 at 10pm on the PBS series P.O.V.

Watch the trailer below:

Watch Granito: How to Nail a Dictator - Trailer on PBS. See more from POV.

When young filmmaker Pamela Yates traveled to Guatemala in 1982, she had no idea that what she about to film would one day help hold accountable one of the most powerful regimes in Latin America. Her footage captures the Guatemalan military’s brutal campaign against the Mayan peoples, which included widespread rapes and massacres—some of which, according to the Historical Clarification Commission charged with investigating the crimes, constituted acts of genocide.

In Granito, Yates narrates her return to the original footage she captured for her documentary, When the Mountains Tremble (1983). After sifting through reels of film in storage, she discovers new evidence in which Efraín Ríos Montt admits to his responsibility for the killing of Mayan civilians and leftist guerillas. Yates brings the evidence to an international lawyer from Spain, who is building a case against Montt. The film features prominent Guatemalan activist Rigoberta Menchú, as well as former guerilla commanders and children of individuals who were disappeared during the dictatorship.

An Official Selection of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, Granito is a historical thriller that shows the 30 year struggle of lawyers, filmmakers, forensic anthropologists and community activists to help ensure the dictator answered for his crimes. This documentary tells the story of a network of “granitos”—or tiny grains of sand—who together can tip the scales of justice, and bring the past to light.

Visit the official website of Granito.