Maria Tersa Rodriguez (LTA ’07) along with Kathryn Smith Pyle will be screening Niños de la Memoria (Children of Memory) on Tuesday, May 1 at 6:00pm at the International House (3701 Chestnut St) as part of Scribe’s Producers Forum. General Admission $10, Students/Seniors $8, Scribe/I House/ PIFVA Members $5. Niños de la Memoria tells the story of the search for children who disappeared during the Salvadoran Civil War. Many children were survivors of massacres carried out by U.S.-trained Salvadoran army battalions. Some grew up in orphanages or were “sold” into adoption abroad, not knowing their true history or identity. Post-screening discussion with filmmakers Kathryn Smith Pyle and María Teresa Rodríguez and special guests: Jamie Harvey, Leonor Arteaga, Jennifer Cox, Elisabeth Perez-Luna.
Told through the eyes of three survivors, the film follows Margarita Zamora, an investigator for the human rights organization Pro-Búsqueda, as she traverses the Salvadoran countryside probing memory, swabbing DNA samples, and searching for disappeared children – including her own four siblings. In the United States, Jamie Harvey, adopted from El Salvador in 1980, dreams of locating her birth family; but with no information and no contacts, she is losing hope. Her quest to find her family is made all the more difficult by lack of access to the Salvadoran military archives, closed to the public since the war. As Jamie’s search intensifies, she finds herself forced to confront a past and a history she has never known. Salvador Garcia, a farmer in Usulután, discovered the bodies of his wife and three children, brutally massacred by the Army in 1981. But he never found his daughter, Cristabel. Thirty years later, he still longs for her.
Niños de la Memoria weaves together three separate yet intertwined journeys in the search for family, identity and justice in El Salvador, and asks the larger question: How can a post-war society right the wrongs of the past? (El Salvador/USA, 2012, 62 min, Spanish & English, w/ English subtitles)
Post-screening discussion special guests:
Jamie Harvey, born in El Salvador in 1980 and adopted in the US as an infant, Jamie’s search for her Salvadoran family is captured in the film.
Leonor Arteaga, a former attorney for Pro-Búsqueda, the human rights group that brings cases of the disappeared children before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
Jennifer Cox grew up in the 1980s Sanctuary movement of her family’s church, First United Methodist Church of Germantown, in Philadelphia; Jen will join the discussion to share that piece of local history and her own activist journey.
Elisabeth Perez-Luna, Executive Producer of Audio Content at WHYY, will moderate the discussion following the screening. She is an award winning journalist and is a regular contributor to NPR programs.