|Outsider Pictures is proud to announce the US Virtual Theatrical release of the Belgian/Guatemalan film Our Mothers (Nuestras Madres), beginning May 1, 2020. The film is already available through 15 nationwide theaters with more added daily. In a similar vein to other virtual releases in the US, Our Mothers will be available via local art house cinemas, with a national ticket price split equally with the local cinemas.
Our Mothers premiered at Cannes International Critics Week in 2019 and won the Caméra d’Or. It was also selected as the Belgian entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 92nd Academy Awards.
Our Mothers stars up and coming Mexican actor Armando Espitia, who recently starred in Heidi Ewing’s I Carry You With Me, which premiered in the NEXT section of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, winning both the Audience Award and The Next Innovator Award. (Full bio below.)
Armando plays Ernesto, is a young anthropologist working for the Forensic Foundation in Guatemala in 2018, when the whole country is immersed in the trial of the soldiers who sparked the civil war. As victim statements come one after another, Ernesto’s job is to identify the bodies of the missing. One day, while hearing the account of an older woman from a small village, he thinks he has found a lead that might guide him to his father, a guerrillero who went missing during the war. Against his mother’s wishes, he throws himself body and soul into the case, looking for the truth.
Director César Díaz began the project as a documentary about military massacres during the Guatemalan civil war in the 1970-80s, but soon turned it into a feature drama when he met the women in the villages where the fighting occurred. Their testimonies, often full of violent tales, tell the story of Guatemala’s history as one of the first CIA “Black Operations.” While listening to their stories Diaz realized he had the opportunity to carry on Guatemala’s oral tradition through film. Díaz has crafted a story that is both personal and universal for those of his generation that echoes the stories he had heard from his own mother about his father, also a “disappeared” guerrilla fighter.
Díaz says, “In Guatemala, fathers are absent as a general rule. Many children born of rape think that their father just left at some point. I therefore wanted the mother to reveal her secret, because it is a way of accepting and living with the consequences of what has happened. In a post-dictatorship, post-war situation, I think there must be collective acceptance, which can then be followed by individual moving on. Nuestras Madres is, to my knowledge, the first film to deal with this subject head-on.”
It is estimated that only 1% of the disappeared have been identified after over 20 years of searching. The Genocide trial in the film is a mixture of many trials currently in process, as is the painstaking work of uncovering the mass graves and returning the bodies to the families.
César Díaz was born in Guatemala in 1978. After studying in Mexico and Belgium, he joined the screenwriting workshop at the FEMIS Film School in Paris. He has been a fiction and documentary film editor for more than a decade. He directed the short documentary films Semillas de Cenizas, which was screened in about twenty international film festivals, and Territorio Liberado, which won the IMCINE Award in Mexico. Our Mothers (Nuestras Madres) is his first feature film. (Read a Q&A with Díaz about Our Mothers here.)Armando Espitia is a Mexican film, TV and stage actor. He most recently starred in I CARRY YOU WITH ME, Heidi Ewing’s first narrative feature, César Díaz’s NUESTRAS MADRES. His career began by playing the title role in Amat Escalante’s HELI, which premiered in official competition at Cannes 2013 for which he won a Best Actor nomination at the 2014 Ariel Awards, the Canacine Award for Male Revelation, and the 2014 Silver Goddess Male Revelation Award. After HELI, he worked with directors like Rodrigo Pla, Max Zunino, José Ramón Chávez among others. Armando made his American television debut with TEXAS RISING, a miniseries directed by Rolland Joffe and starring Ray Liotta, Bill Paxton, and Brendan Fraser. Other television work includes the Netflix series EL RECLUSO and the Amazon series DIABLO GUARDIAN. Armando also founded CONEJO CON PRISA Theatre Company, which premiered the plays APPLES and HOW I LEARN TO DRIVE by Paula Voguel.
Our Mothers will be made available nationally via local art house cinemas beginning May 1, 2020 with a ticket price of $12, split equally with the local cinema to help support them during the pandemic. ROW8, the digital provider to Outsider Pictures, also offers a zip code, geo-targeted solution, which will allow theaters to use the system on an ongoing basis allowing its more vulnerable audiences to keep viewing new films from home while necessary.
Live stream Q&As with César Díaz will take place on Saturday, May 2, at 7 pm EST, and Sunday May 3, at 4 pm EST, moderated by Emmy Award-wiinning filmmaker and Outsider Pictures team member Robert Rosenberg. Information on how to register for access will be announced shortly.
LINKS TO THEATER TICKET PURCHASE:
Los Angeles CA: Laemmle Theaters
Davis CA: Varsity Theater
Santa Ana CA: The Frida Cinema
Larkspur CA: The Lark
Denver, CO: SIE Film Center
Miami FL: Tower
Tampa FL: Tampa Theater
Detroit MI: Cinema Lamont
Ann Arbor, MI: Michigan Theater
Albuquerque NM: The Guild Cinema
Buffalo NY: North Park Theater
Cleveland OH: Cleveland Cinematheque
Philadelphia PA: Cinespeak
For screening links and INTERVIEWS
with César Díaz and Armando Espitia
please contact KellyHargraves@gmail.com
Winner Camera D’or, Cannes Film Festival
Winner SACD Award, Critics Week, Cannes Film Festival
Winner Silver Hugo New Directors, Chicago Film Festival
Winner Best Photography, Film Festival Oostende
FIPRESCI Nominee, Jerusalem Film Festival
Winner Best Director & People’s Choice Awards, Pingyao Film Festival
“As witnesses of the genocide, the Mayan women of Guatemala are the bridge between past and present, repositories of memory and conduits for justice…” – Variety
“Offers an example of remembrance and resilience…film erupts like a shout in the darkness that surrounds this often overlooked massacre that cost mostly Indian lives, and paints the heartbreaking portrait of a mother and her son.” – Cineuropa
“This film about the shared trauma of this kind of systematic killings, and how it is passed on down the generations, demonstrates the power of the arts in ensuring that these stories are told and not forgotten.” – Letterboxd
Ernesto Armando Espitia
Cristina Emma Dib
Nicolasa Aurelia Caal
Juan Julio Serrano Echeverría
Freddy Victor Moreira
Screenplay and direction César Díaz
Photography Virginie Surdej
Editing Damien Maestraggi
Sound Vincent Nouaille, Gilles Benardeau, Emmanuel De Boissieu
Music Rémi Boubal
Sets Pilar Peredo
Make Up Eva Ravina
Costumes Sofía Lantán
Producers Need Productions (Belgique), Perspective Films (France)
Coproducers Proximus (Belgique), Cine Concepcion (Guatemala)
Produced by Géraldine Sprimont, Delphine Schmit
Coproduced by Joaquin Ruano, Pamela Guinea
Associate producer Anne-Laure Guégan
With the support of Centre du Cinéma et de l’Audiovisuel de la Fédération Wallonie Bruxelles Proximus Eurimage