When the Mountains Tremble

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When the Mountains Tremble
When the Mountains Tremble FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed by Newton Thomas Sigel and Pamela Yates[1]
Produced by Peter Kinoy
Starring Rigoberta Menchú
Susan Sarandon
Music by Rubén Blades
Cinematography Newton Thomas Sigel
Edited by Peter Kinoy
Running time
83 minutes
Country Guatemala

When The Mountains Tremble is a 1983 documentary film produced by Skylight Pictures about the war between the Guatemalan Military and the Mayan Indigenous population of Guatemala.[2][3]

Footage from this film is being used as forensic evidence in the Guatemalan court for crimes against humanity, in the genocide case against Efraín Ríos Montt.[4][5]

The film centers on the experiences of Nobel Prize winner Rigoberta Menchú, a Quiché indigenous woman who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992, nine years after the film came out.[6] When The Mountains Tremble won the Special Jury Award at the Sundance Film Festival, the Blue Ribbon Award at the American Film Festival, and the Grand Coral Award/Best North American Documentary at the Havana Film Festival.[7][8] The 2012 film Granito: How to Nail a Dictator, is Pamela Yates's follow-up on When the Mountains Tremble.[9]

20th Anniversary of "When the Mountains Tremble[edit]

In 2004, "When the Mountains Tremble" was digitally remastered to commemorate its 20th Anniversary.[10] The special edition released is updated after Menchú was awarded the Nobel Peace Price and includes a filmmaker commentary as well as a never-before-seen introduction from Susan Sarandon and an illuminating epilogue reflecting on the country's events a decade later. DVD Features: Filmmaker Commentary from Pamela Yates Newton Thomas Sigel and Editor Peter Kinoy; Never-Before-Seen Introduction by Susan Sarandon; Epilogue featuring Rigoberta Menchú; Filmmaker Biographies; Interactive Menus; Scene Selection.[11]

In 2014 Yates discovered via a first person investigation that a scene depicting an Army massacre had actually been carried out by a guerrilla group, the Guerrilla Army of the Poor (EGP). She stated that: "We intend to make a correction that will clarify what happened in this scene in both “When the Mountains Tremble” and “Granito”.[12][13][14]

"When the Mountains Tremble" Company Credits[edit]

Name Credit
Cori Films International Foreign Theatrical Distributor
New Yorker Films Domestic Theatrical Distributor
Docurama Films Domestic Video Distributor
Skylight Productions Inc Production Company
Corporation For Public Broadcasting Producer Credit
Samuel Rubin Foundation Producer Credit
Fund For Tomorrow Producer Credit
Canadian Catholic Organization For Peace and Development Producer Credit
Funding Exchange Producer Credit
Labor Theater Production Credit



  1. ^ [1] Pamela Yates’s ‘Granito’ Revisits Guatemala - The New York Times - accessed August 5, 2014
  2. ^ [2] When the Mountains Tremble - The New York Times - accessed August 5, 2014
  3. ^ Granitomem Iteractive public archive of the Guatemalan genocide - Granito: Cada Memoria Cuenta - accessed August 5, 2014
  4. ^ [3] ion: Granito: How to Nail a Dictator - PBS - accessed August 5, 2014
  5. ^ [4] Granito: How to Nail a Dictator": New Film Tracks Struggle for Justice After Guatemalan Genocide-Democracy Now!-September 15, 2011 - accessed August 11, 2014
  6. ^ The Official Site of the Nobel Prize
  7. ^ Human Rights Film Focus
  8. ^ Festival-droits del Homme
  9. ^ [5] Description: Granito: How to Nail a Dictator - PBS - accessed August 5, 2014
  10. ^ Docurama
  11. ^ Docurama
  12. ^ ABC News
  13. ^ Statement by Pamela Yates
  14. ^ [6]
  15. ^ The New York Times

External links[edit]