ProPublica is partnering with the DOC NYC film festival to co-host a Nov. 13 screening of “Finding Oscar,” a feature-length documentary about the search for justice in the case of the massacre of 250 men, women and children in the Guatemalan village of Dos Erres in 1982. The documentary parallels a 2012 story written by ProPublica senior reporter Sebastian Rotella and Fundación MEPI reporter Ana Arana entitled “Finding Oscar: Massacre, Memory and Justice in Guatemala,” part of a project that won a Peabody Award (for a presentation of the story that ran as an episode of This American Life), two Overseas Press Club awards, and an award from Columbia University’s Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma.
The documentary was executive produced by Steven Spielberg, produced by Frank Marshall and directed by Ryan Suffern. It tells the story of Oscar Ramírez Castañeda, an undocumented Guatemalan immigrant and father of four living near Boston. At age 32, Ramírez learned that his life was a lie. He was not the son of a heroic military officer as he’d been told by the family that raised him. DNA tests proved he had been abducted at age three by the officer, whose commando unit had actually wiped out the village of Dos Erres – one of the worst crimes in Guatemala’s bloody civil war.
“Finding Oscar” follows the men and women who have spent nearly two decades looking for answers, from the Guatemalan human rights activist who first investigated the case, to the young Guatemalan prosecutor who took on her government, to the U.S. immigration agents who tracked down war criminals found living in the United States.
Showcasing more than 200 films and events over eight days, DOC NYC is the nation’s largest documentary film festival. Its screening of “Finding “Oscar,” the film’s New York City premiere, will be followed by a discussion moderated by ProPublica reporter Sebastian Rotella. This post-screening discussion will include director Ryan Suffern; forensic anthropologist Fredy Peccerelli, who worked to identify victims from the Dos Erres massacre and contact families; and Scott Greathead, a co-producer of the film and the attorney who represented Ramírez in his successful claim for political asylum.
“Finding Oscar” will be presented on Sunday, Nov. 13, at 4:00 pm at IFC Center (323 6th Avenue, New York, NY). Tickets can be purchased here, through DOC NYC.