*Introduced by producer Margarita De la Vega Hurtado
Directed by acclaimed Colombian artist Juan Manuel Echavarría Olano, this evocative documentary film portrays a community that defies the culture of violence by keeping alive the memory of the disappeared. The town of Puerto Berrío has endured 30 years of violence between armed guerrillas, the army, paramilitaries, and drug traffickers. Local townspeople have fished out the remains of victims of violence, called No Names (NNs), drifting downstream. They adopted and baptized these unidentified corpses and decorate and visit their graves as one would for a lost family member—all because, according to their faith, this guarantees divine protection. Since 2006, Echavarría has traveled to Puerto Berrío’s cemetery to document these rituals, first through photography and now through film.
Margarita De la Vega Hurtado began her career as a film critic in Bogotá, Colombia. She taught at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, developing courses in American, Latin American, and world culture and cinema, and also directed the Program in Latina/o Studies. She has curated and presented festivals about Latin American, Colombian, documentary, and independent cinema, and more. During the last two years, she worked as executive producer for Réquiem NN, directed by Juan Manuel Echavarría Olano, an internationally renowned visual artist. This documentary opened at the Festival Internacional de Cine de Cartagena in February 2013; it made its North American premiere at MoMA in New York, October 2013.