Synopsis

In a country where indigenous people are increasingly displaced, their land stolen, where students disappear without trace following police arrest, and journalists are murdered at an alarming rate, a courageous new voice emerges. Lupita, a Tsostil Maya massacre survivor, at the forefront of a new movement of indigenous women. If anyone can change the conscience of Mexico, it is Lupita, confronting corrupt militares, mobilizing her pueblo’s resistance, and cultivating a new generation of organized and vocal Maya activists. The film intimately follows Lupita taking on risks and responsibility to represent her people, weaving her personal narrative into the painful revolutionary history of Mexico. Part lyrical testimony, part vérité storytelling, part tribute to 500 years of indigenous resistance, this film mediates the point-of-view of a brave woman who must balance the demands of motherhood with her high stakes choices to re-educate and restore justice to the world.

Lupita (Lupita, que retiemble la tierra) is a 2021 winner of the Women’s Voices Now Film Festival Award Best Social Film Prize at the Women’s Voices Now Film Festival for Best Social Change Documentary Short.

About the Filmmaker

Monica Wise Robles (Director/Cinematographer/Producer) is a Colombian American documentary filmmaker and video journalist based in Mexico City. Her work focuses on intimate stories of resistance across borders to highlight feminist, LGBTQ, migrant, and indigenous narratives. Monica’s work can be seen in the Guardian, the Intercept, the Atlantic, TeleSUR, Al Jazeera, MSNBC, PBS, History Now, BBC Travel, and NBC Latino. She worked on Pamela Yates’ “500 Years,” a feature documentary chronicling indigenous resistance in Guatemala which premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

Wise was also a producer and cinematographer on “The New Deciders,” a 2016 PBS election special with journalist Maria Hinojosa. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, she has also produced work from Haiti, Cuba, Costa Rica, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala and El Salvador. She is currently directing two documentary films exposing state human rights abuses in Guatemala and Chiapas, Mexico through the eyes of female survivors seeking justice. Monica is an International Women’s Media Foundation Adelante fellow, a UC Berkeley Investigative Reporting Program Associate, a Ford and Sundance Institute grantee, and was selected for Take The Lead’s #50WomenCan program for women working to change the gender gap in the media industry. www.monicawiserobles.com

More from the Filmmaker

“I started filming this story in the fall of 2017, as Marichuy, the first indigenous woman to campaign for the presidency of Mexico, started her tour in Zapatista caracoles, autonomous communities created by the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN). Lupita was chosen to speak alongside Marichuy, along with other community appointed councilwomen from all over Mexico. I was inspired by this historic moment led by indigenous women and set out to find a story to document within it, arriving in Chiapas with nothing but a motel room booked for the first night, my camera and a change of clothes.

Lupita is a captivating orator and I knew immediately that she should be the one to tell the story of 500 years of indigenous resistance, in a contemporary Mexican political context, to a global audience. Months later, I teamed up with a local journalist Eduardo Gutierez Pérez to film, who heads up the communication team for the Abejas de Acteal, Lupita’s organization, was thankfully eager to collaborate.

We made the film so that Lupita’s voice could be heard, reach new and international audiences and raise awareness of Lupita and her community’s struggle. There has not been justice for the Acteal massacre, the attack by paramilitaries that killed 45 people in Lupita’s home town in 1997, including her mother and father. Those who ordered the killings who were in power at the time have not been held accountable. The Mexican government recently offered an amicable solution or ‘solución amistosa,’ or reparations to a group of survivors with the pretense of justice being served. The Abejas continue to demand a report from Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and will not rest until justice is served in court, internationally.

I know that the work on the film isn’t finished until it gets to the right people, those who tell their own story in the film, so we’re fundraising and planning a tour in the highlands with Lupita.”

Monica Wise Robles, Director, https://www.lupitafilm.com/