Local film-maker bringing documentary to Brilliant Cultural Centre

"Defensora" documents on-going land and community defense struggles of Mayan Q’eqchi communities in eastern Guatemala

Defensora

6kidsProductions and Girl Edge Films, in partnership with Rights Action, is bringing Defensora to the Brilliant Cultural Centre at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 1.

Defensora documents the historic and on-going land and community defense struggles of Mayan Q’eqchi communities in eastern Guatemala, and their struggle for justice and remedy in Canadian courts against the nickel mining company Hudbay Minerals.

Produced and directed by Kootenay filmmaker Rachel Schmidt and winner of the International John Basham Award, at the 2013 Columbia Gorge International Film Festival, Defensora follows the story of sisters Maria and Angelica Choc, who lead a Mayan Q’eqchi resistance in Guatemala to reclaim ancestral lands and seek justice in Canada for the murder of Angelica’s husband, the shooting-paralyzing of German Choc Chub and the gang rapes of 11 Mayan women.

Set along the shores of Lake Izabal, where tensions run high against a backdrop and history of violence, intimidation and forced evictions, the stakes are high for the Mayan Q’eqchi people who risk their lives to protect their lands, speak the truth and seek justice in Canadian courts, and for Hudbay Minerals that continues to deny their allegations.

“Defensora is a timely documentary that provides candid insights into the brave struggles of Angélica, German and other Maya Q’eqchi’ women and men in El Estor, Guatemala who, faced with the grave harm that Canadian mining operations have brought about, are on the frontline of the battle for justice in Canadian courts,” said Jen Moore, MiningWatch Canada in a release provided by Schmidt.

The screening is sponsored by: Kootenay Region of the United Nations Branch (KRUNA), Sustainable Mining Alliance of the Kootenays (SMAK), Nelson Amnesty International, Nelson Development and Peace, Nelson Chapter of the Council of Canadians and CMAW Carpenters Local 2300.

There will be a question and answer session with Schmidt, Grahame Russell, Rights Action and local activists.