Director: Sergio Ramírez
Guatemala | 2021 | Spanish with English subtitles | 76 min

Join us during the festival for a conversation via VLAFF’s FACEBOOK LIVE with director Sergio Ramírez from Guatemala and our 2021 Youth Jury. Saturday Sept 4 12:00 PT

*Not available for viewing online.
Screening will be held in-person at The Cinematheque on
Friday, Sept 3 at 8:15pm.

It’s 1991, Guatemala is in the midst of a long civil war. The army and the guerrilla groups battle each other in the mountains, but these are distant realities for teenage boys growing up in the city. They just want to have fun; and for some, that means carrying baseball bats in the car, though their purpose is not for playing, but for hunting. Teenage squads from wealthy families roam the city looking for working-class young men with Indigenous features, who dress differently, listen to hip hop music, and breakdance. Daniel and his friends must decide whose side are they are on: the “breaks” or the “anti-breaks”… and the price to be paid for each.

Filmmaker Sergio Ramírez’s long awaited second feature film “1991” has a blistering urgency: he brings to light one of the 20th century’s most unreported and unpunished genocides – that of hundreds of Indigenous young men murdered with impunity in the late ‘80s and ‘90s in Guatemala. The story of Daniel and Tony, frisky teenagers caught up in a complex web of societal racism, homophobia and class struggle, brings to life a chapter of history that cannot be allowed to be swept under the carpet of purposeful forgetting.” – Miami Film Festival, 2021

En 1991, Guatemala está en guerra. El ejército y los grupos guerrilleros luchan entre sí en las montañas, pero estas son noticias lejanas para Daniel y sus amigos. Ellos solo quieren divertirse, cargan bates de béisbol, aunque su propósito no es jugar, sino cazar. Este grupo de cinco adolescentes deambula por la ciudad en busca de jóvenes de clase baja con rasgos indígenas, que se visten de manera diferente y escuchan hip hop. Son el enemigo, a quien se refieren como “breaks”. Daniel y sus amigos no saben por qué hacen lo que hacen; solo saben que se consideran a sí mismos “anti-breaks”.

Born in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala in 1978, he studied Communication Sciences at the Rafael Landívar University. He is the scriptwriter, director and producer of the documentary Resistir para vivir, resistir para avanzar, the short film Hoy si and the feature film Distancia, which participated in multiple international film festivals, obtaining among others, the awards: Best First Film at the 33rd International Festival of New Latin American Cinema in Havana, Cuba; Best Director and Best Film in New York-Havana Film Festival; Best Feature Film at the Ícaro Festival; and Best Film at the Trinidad & Tobago Festival. 1991 is his second feature film, which received production support from the Cinergia Fund and was selected to participate in First Look (Work in Progress) of IFF Panama.