"500 Years: Life in Resistance" to Screen as Indigenous Film Festival at UNC Asheville Begins Sept. 6

Featured image: 
Image from the film: Mayans in a Guatemalan courtroom cheer the guilty verdict against General Ríos Montt, who was convicted and sentenced to genocide and crimes against humanity on May 10, 2013. It was the first time the perpetrator of genocide against indigenous people had been tried in a court of law. Ten days later, the verdict was annulled. Photo credit: Daniel Hernández-Salazar

UNC Asheville will present a new series, the Indigenous Film Festival, with four films screening this fall on campus. Through cinema, the series will present the experiences and perspectives of indigenous peoples around the world, not often reflected on American movie screens. The screenings are free and open to everyone.

The Indigenous Film Festival will begin with a new documentary on Guatemala, 500 Years: Life in Resistance, screening at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 6 in Humanities Lecture Hall. The film is the third and final installment in director Pamela Yates and Skylight film’s trilogy on Mayan indigenous resistance in Guatemala, which began with When the Mountains Tremble (1983), followed by Granito: How to Nail a Dictator (2011). The new film chronicles the events that led Guatemala to a tipping point in its history, from the genocide trial of former dictator General Ríos Montt to the popular movement that toppled sitting President Otto Pérez Molina.

The film is an official selection of the 2017 Sundance, Full Frame Documentary and Ashland Independent film festivals. 500 Years: Life in Resistance also screened at the 2017 Human Rights Watch Film Festival in London, U.K., and the International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Indigenous Film Festival is curated and will be hosted by UNC Asheville faculty members Trey Adcock, assistant professor of education and director of American Indian Outreach; Agya Boakye-Boaten, associate professor of Africana studies and director of Interdisciplinary, International and Africana Studies Programs; Juan G. Sánchez Martinez, assistant professor of Spanish; and Jeremias Zunguze, assistant professor of Africana and Lusophone studies.

For more information on 500 Years: Life in Resistance, visit 500years.skylight.is.


Oct. 4 – Mortu Nega – This movie, the first produced in Guinea-Bissau after independence, blends contemporary history with African mythology.

Oct. 25 – Heritage Africa – This drama tells the story of a Ghanaian who becomes a colonial officer, but re-examines his role and identity during his nation’s struggle for independence.

Nov. 15 – Rhymes for Young Ghouls – Set in 1976 on a Canadian Indian reserve, this film’s teenage protagonist is forced into a residential school and plots revenge.

All films will screen at 6 p.m. in UNC Asheville’s Humanities Lecture Hall, free and open to everyone. For more information about the Indigenous Film Festival, contact Juan G. Sánchez Martinez at jsanche1@unca.edu or 828.251.6277.