The documentary “Las Abuelas de la Plaza de Mayo and the Search for Identity,” which highlights the impact of Argentina’s Dirty War, will be shown on campus Monday at 6 p.m. in Room 114 of the Onstead-Packer Bible Building.
The Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, the Center for Peace and Justice and ACU’s Graduate School of Theology will sponsor the screening.
Dr. Charlie Tuggle, professor of broadcast journalism at the University of North Carolina and co-producer of the film, presented Dr. Cheryl Bacon, chair of the JMC department, with the opportunity to show the film.
“When I first looked at it, it struck me as something that would be of interest to several departments on campus,” she said. “It is important for students to see that their peers are doing big things.”
The documentary tells the story of the impact of Argentina’s Dirty War, which took place from 1976 to 1983. During this time, the military dictatorship set to wipe out the resistance. About 30,000 people were kidnapped and murdered, including 500 mothers.
“Their babies wound up with military supporters – the real grandmothers have been looking for their grandchildren ever since,” Tuggle said. “This is what our story is about: the search for the missing grandchildren.”
Tuggle began working on this two-year project after a few of his students researched and wrote their own pieces on Las Abuelas, which means “The Grandmothers,” and Argentina’s Dirty War.
“I became very interested in the culture, the country, the history of the story of Las Abuelas,” Tuggle said. “So I went back to Argentina in 2009 with my family.”
Tuggles’ youngest daughter wrote a follow-up piece on Las Abuelas during their last stay in Argentina. After crafting a nationally recognized piece, Tuggle and his two daughers wanted to further pursue the story.
“We decided that these little news stories that we were doing doing were only scratching the surface,” Tuggle said. “So we decided, ‘Why don’t we do a family documentary.'”
Tuggle was part of an accreditation review team that came to visit ACU in 2006. Because of Bacon’s relationship with the producer, ACU is the fifth university to screen the film.
“I’ve been out there for a visit and got to know Dr. Bacon,” Tuggle said. “When I started to market the film, I wanted to go to people I was familiar with and people who were familiar with me.”
Las Abuelas is scheduled to show at 90 universities, four of those being international.
Tuggle said this has been a “fun project to work on,” mainly because he is doing it with his daughters.
“It’s also an important project,” Tuggle said. “It highlights the idea that all of us have to be interested and involved in the human rights fight.”