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UK to Host Documentary Screening on Argentina's Dirty War


By Whitney Hale

poster The University of Kentucky's Latin American Studies ProgramCollege of Communications and Information Studies and Libraries are coming together to offer a screening of "Las Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo and the Search for Identity," a documentary on a period during Argentina's Dirty War when people were tortured and babies were kidnapped and given to military supporters. The free public screening will be presented at 3 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, at Worsham Theater.

"Las Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo" is a documentary film that was a labor of love for C.A. Tuggle, a journalism professor at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), and his two daughters, Brynne Miller and Bethany Parker, who worked for two years to bring this documentary to life.

The film is the story of a period in Argentina’s history known as The Dirty War, when a military dictatorship controlled the country. From 1976-1983, human rights advocates estimate as many as 30,000 people were tortured and killed, 500 of whom were pregnant women or new mothers. In many cases, it is believed the babies born to these women were taken away and given to supporters of the military. The film tells the story of a group of women, Las Abuelas (the grandmothers). Since the kidnappings in the '70s and '80s, these women have made it their life’s mission to find these children, many of whom are now in their 30s.

The film focuses on the basic question: "Is the right to know who you are a basic human right?" Through more than 40 in-depth interviews, historical material and relevant literature, Tuggle and his two daughters, both graduates of the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication, along with the help of several others affiliated with UNC seek to educate people about what happened in Argentina and the work that is still continuing today by Las Abuelas.

The film’s subject matter brings together three campus units that do not often have an opportunity to collaborate. The documentary first came to the attention of Doug Boyd, a communication professor, and then made its way to Toni Greider, director of international programs for UK Libraries by way of Dean Terry Birdwhistell. The film also came to the attention of Susan Carvalho, associate provost for international programs, who called it to the attention of Carmen Martínez Novo, director of Latin American Studies. Once mutual interest became known, the three units joined forces to bring this documentary to campus. 

”Las Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo" was recently awarded an Indie, an award that is given to filmmakers who produce fresh, standout entertainment, animation and compelling documentaries.  More detailed information about "Las Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo" and biographies of the people interviewed can be found on the documentary's website, and on Facebook at!/pages/The-Search-for-Identity-a-Documentary-Film/179500192090917.  

The screening will begin at 3 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, in the Student Center's Worsham Theater. The film will run about 1 hour. Following the screening the audience will have an opportunity to talk with one of the producers via Skype.