Human Rights Watch Traveling Film Festival – Program 2: A Promise to the Dead


7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Event Type

From its inception, Human Rights Watch’s International Film Festival has embodied the power of film to make a difference. Courageous and committed filmmakers produce impressive documentary and feature films, which stimulate passionate conversations about human rights and inspire new generations of human rights activists. Through the universal language of film, we connect the experiences of survivors and activists with our own experiences—a critical step in influencing public opinion and policy makers.

Part of iEAR presents!, co-sponsored by the Arts Department at Rensselaer.



4-5:00pm Buffet Reception

5:00pm Youth Producing Change (80 minutes)

7:00pm A Promise to the Dead (92 minutes)

9:00pm To See If I’m Smiling (59 minutes)


Program 2: A Promise to the Dead begins at 7pm and runs 92 minutes.

A Promise to the Dead
Peter Raymont—Canada—2006—92m—35mm—

In English and Spanish with English subtitles

“… my first September 11th had been in 1973, when terror was also inflicted on the innocent, when death also rained down from the sky, sending me into exile, making me into the man I have now become…” —Ariel Dorfman

On September 11, 1973, Chile’s military attacked its government. As the coup took hold, the democratically elected president Salvador Allende called government members to the presidential palace to stand against their attackers, facing certain death. Ariel Dorfman was Allende’s cultural advisor, and should have been called too; he later discovered his name had been struck from the list so he could live to tell what happened that day. Three decades later, Dorfman is an internationally respected writer and human rights activist, winner of the Sir Laurence Olivier Award for the play “Death and the Maiden.” Filmmaker Peter Raymont travels to Chile with Dorfman in late 2006, at the time when Augusto Pinochet, Allende’s overthrower and Dorfman’s long-time nemesis, is dying. Raymont follows Dorfman through emotional reunions with his friends and fellow resistors, to personal landmarks that are powerful both emotionally and historically. During the journey they explore exile, memory and the search for justice.

 *Fernando Leiva, Director of Globalization Studies and Director of Graduate Studies, LACS at SUNY Albany, will be leading a discussion following the film.