The BFWW celebration of International Women’s Day on March 18 took the form of a daylong film festival with the theme “Human Rights, Activism and the Arts.”

In the morning, the Berkshire International Film Festival sponsored the screening of SARABAH, the inspiring story of Sista Fa, a Senegalese rap star who rose from a difficult, impoverished childhood to overcome gender discrimination and become the outstanding performer she was meant to be–and then used her talent and charisma to lend support to the Tostan campaign to end female genital cutting in Senegal.

In the afternoon, Pamela Yates was on hand at Bard College at Simon’s Rock to screen and discuss her new film GRANITO: HOW TO NAIL A DICTATOR, produced by Paco de Onis with Skylight Productions.

Pamela was introduced by program co-sponsor Ricky Bernstein, director of the Berkshire Human Rights Speaker Series, as well as Eleanore Velez of Berkshire Community College.

Ricky Bernstein


Eleanore Velez

After the screening of the gripping, powerful film, Pamela Yates took the stage to answer questions from the audience.

Pamela Yates

Pamela’s personal story of bringing her “granito,” her little grain of sand, persistently to bear on the human rights atrocities in Guatemala was very inspiring for the audience to hear.  GRANITO tells the story of how Pamela’s early work as a filmmaker in Guatemala during the genocide years of the late 1970s and early 1980s bore unexpected fruit when her footage was used as evidence in an attempt to extradite a general to Spain to stand trial for genocide.

The story has a positive ending, too, as this general, Rios Montt, who for years continued to act with unapologetic impunity, has recently been ordered to stand trial in Guatemala for crimes against humanity.

The appreciative audience gave Yates a standing ovation for her work on the film, and left the hall feeling inspired  to look for occasions to add their own “granitos” to the on-going, worldwide struggles for social justice.

Listening to Pamela Yates speak at the McConnell Theater, Bard College at Simon's Rock