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Killer's Paradise

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Since 1999 more than two thousand women have been murdered in Guatemala, with the numbers escalating every year. Yet, lawmakers and government officials continue to turn a blind eye. Powerful and uncompromising, Killer's Paradise uncovers one of the most emotionally-wrenching hidden human rights abuses taking place, while exposing the impunity allowed by an inept judicial system. With its history of almost four decades of civil war, Guatemala is a troubled society but it can also be seen as a microcosm of the pervasive violence and injustice against women that exists in the world today.

When 13-year-old Stephanie Lopez was found killed, any evidence was buried with the body. In the three months since Jorge Velasquez's daughter was murdered, the case file has shuffled from desk to desk with no real progress. After five years of hunting down her sister's killers, Maria Elena Peralta is no closer to the truth. No one knows who is behind these atrocious acts and nothing is being done to find the culprits. Cases are routinely closed and the murderd women dismissed as nobodies.

But there are traces of hope: a grassroots human rights movement is emerging from the country's tainted past. Fuelled by frustration, anger, great sadness and loss, women and men are coming together for a common fight in the name of their daughters, wives and sisters. Human rights activist Norma Cruz travels across Guatemala to educate women on their rights and how to protect themselves and others against violence. Jorge finally obtains DNA testing for two suspects in his daughter's death. Maria Elena travels to Washington, D.C. to garner support for her long-standing fight.

With stunning realism, Killer's Paradise documents these heartbreaking stories. Victims' friends and family, police officers and investigators, rapists and gang members - even a serial killer who still roams freely - offer gripping testimonies to the stark reality in Guatemala. Meticulously crafted and beautifully shot, Killer's Paradise is a bold film that captures the raw emotions of all those affected and the harsh reality of a struggling nation.

2006, 83 min 26 s

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American Anthropological Association
November 28 to December 1 2007, Washington - USA

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