Film on Nicaragua’s Female Political Prisoners at Documentary Festival

From “Hojas de K”

The short film will compete in one of the most important documentary festivals in the world, premiering on June 24th

By Alejandra Padilla (Confidencial)

HAVANA TIMES – Nicaraguan filmmaker Gloria Carrion will premiere on June 24 her most recent film entitled “Leaves of K.”, at the Sheffield International Documentary Festival, one of the top documentary festivals in the world and the most important in Great Britain.

Directed and written by Carrion, and produced by Costa Rican Lianet Rodriguez, the documentary will be presented in the program entitled “I am your sister”, where it will compete against nine other shorts selected from thousands of submitted proposals that include similar themes.

In an interview with the online program Esta Noche, Carrion stated that the documentary is based on interviews with ten women who participated in Nicaragua’s civic uprising in 2018 against the dictatorial regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo. “The short film tells the story of a character called ‘K’, a 17-year-old girl who, due to her participation in a protest organized by classmates, is put in prison. She narrates her time in jail, as well as her encounter with other women who also participated in these marches.”

What is the message that this documentary seeks to convey?

On the one hand, to make known what Nicaragua experienced in 2018, the impacts of state and parapolice violence the country experienced at that time. Also, of course, the series of human rights violations that thousands of people in Nicaragua experienced and continue to experience. In that sense, it also shows the capacity for strength and resilience among women who participated in the civic uprising, but also among the Nicaraguan people in general.

How much do you identify with the story of “K.”?

For me this film is tremendously personal because my parents were in prison during the Somoza dictatorship for defending their ideas, their ideals, and the freedom of Nicaragua at that time. Currently I also have three relatives who are political prisoners: Ana Margarita Vijil, Tamara Davila and Dora María Tellez.

Who participated in the production of “K.” Sheets?

Most of my team is anonymous for security reasons. We are only three public persons. Myself, Lianet Rodriguez, producer of the short, and Leonor Zuniga, distribution coordinator. The three of us are outside of Nicaragua and in fact most of my team is in exile. We also have Carolina Hernández, a Costa Rican producer who has been very supportive in this process.

How difficult was it to produce this documentary in a context of repression, persecution, and exile?

It was a very complex process, not only because of the context we are in, but also because of the personal circumstances of each member of the team and the technical complications. It is my first animated film, and in that sense the collective work needed was incredible, not only to know the work guidelines of each person, but also to do it through the zoom platform. At times we began to have parallel creative processes and that allowed us to have a collaborative dynamic. I also worked with an actress for the voice of “K.”, and it was an experience to have to work remotely.

Where will “Leaves of K.” premiere?

It will premiere at the Sheffield Doc Fest, which is one of the best documentary festivals in the world and the most important in England. It will be presented on June 24 at 4:00 pm and then on June 26 at 10:00 am. It is presented within the framework of a program called “I am your sister”, where several short films with similar themes are brought together to make all these pieces dialogue. We are not only in the official presentation, but also, we are in official competition. Of thousands of short films that the festival received from around the world, only 40 were selected for official selection and only ten for official competition, of which ours is one.

What expectations has this documentary generated?

We are at the start of this exciting race of getting our work known. I think what is written in Sheffield about the film will be key and we hope to be showing it in other spaces to have more feedback, comments, reactions, since that always feeds the creators of this art.

How much reality and how much fiction is there in story of “K.”?

The short film is made from “K’s perspective. It is constructed as if it were her personal diary, in which she draws her memories and also writes. A staging strategy that was fundamental for me to work on, was the creation of environments in which the line that divides reality from fiction is very tenuous. There are dreamlike atmospheres that allow the protagonist to cope with the horror of prison. Those dreams allow her to grasp her strength and find her resilience, so that at least a part of her comes out of that experience intact.

Read more from Nicaragua here on Havana Times