Kimberly Bautista--a 2009 graduate of the Social Documentation Program at UC Santa Cruz--has been named the winner of the 2012 HBO and National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) Documentary Film Award.
Bautista received the award for her film, Justice For My Sister, which she originally created for her master’s thesis at UC Santa Cruz.
Bautista continued to work on the film after graduation, employing fellow UCSC SocDoc graduate Juan Mejia (2007) as her cinematographer.
HBO and NALIP created the $10,000 cash award in 2009 for Latino filmmakers to support the growth of social commentary by Latino documentarians.
With an emphasis on social change, films are judged based on the uniqueness of their subject matter, the professional quality of the film, and the tone structure, and style.
The winner and two finalists in this year’s awards were selected by a panel of professional filmmakers and the HBO Documentary Films executives.
Bautista’s award-winning film is a David versus Goliath story about the determination of one woman to see that her sister’s murder did not go unpunished.
Adela, 27, left home for work one day and never returned. Her ex-boyfriend had beat her until she was unrecognizable and left her at the side of the road.
In a heroic effort to see that Adela's killer is held accountable, her 34-year-old sister Rebeca takes on Guatemala's notoriously corrupt legal system, ultimately emerging as a leader in her rural community with the enduring message that justice is possible.
The film's violence prevention campaign led to the formation of a youth-led outreach team with chapters in Guatemala and Los Angeles, a text-messaging service in Guatemala, and more than 150 screenings throughout Guatemala.
Bautista’s film has also been screened at events co-hosted by the Central American Consulates of Los Angeles, the LAPD, East Los Angeles Women's Center, Interface Children and USC’s Family Services.
“Kimberly's determination to use documentary in defense of Guatemalan women is exemplary, and just the sort of dedication we prize in Social Documentation students,” noted professor B. Ruby Rich, director of the Social Documentation Program at UC Santa Cruz.
“Kim fought to bring their story to the screen and to use social media to further her message. We couldn't be prouder of her,” she added.
Rich said that she recently attended a public screening of the film in San Francisco this fall.
“Several current SocDoc students attended on their own volition, and they were so inspired by her dedication--the audience gave her a standing ovation.”
“SocDoc exists to equip students to employ cameras, stories, and perspectives in the cause of social justice,” Rich added. “Guatemala will be a better place for women thanks to Kimberly Bautista.”
Bautista, a Los Angeles-based Colombian and Irish-American filmmaker, served as director, producer, writer, co-cinematographer, and co-editor for the film.
She has been doing media arts work in Guatemala since 2008, examining the effects of the country’s nearly four-decade internal conflict.
In 2006, Bautista founded and directed the Intercultural Web Exchange, a video pen-pal web program between young women in Quito, Ecuador and young Chicana women in Pomona, California. The project lasted over three years and culminated in a college prep opportunity for the participants.
Bautista was a Princess Grace Honorarium recipient in 2008 and a Latino Producers Academy Fellow in 2010.
For more information about her award-winning film, visit the Justice For My Sister web site.