Inspired by the victims of violent crackdowns by Chilean police, filmmaker Hernán Caffiero is looking to tell their story.
Caffiero is currently developing two series about human rights crimes and the effects of police brutality in Chile, one a four-part documentary, the other a follow-up to his Intl. Emmy-winning “The Suspended Mourning,” a dramatized collection of haunting vignettes of the desaparecidos under Augusto Pinochet and the impact of their murder on loved ones.
“We’re making a series about impunity in Chile,” Caffiero told Variety.
“The Suspended Mourning” Season 2 will focus on the victims of today’s police violence triggered by protests that began in Chile in October.
Just as the first season focused on crimes whose perpetrators were never brought to justice, Caffiero said so too would season two examine crimes committed by the current regime that will likely go unpunished.
“We know that in the next six months or one year, these kinds of cases, these crimes, will be made to disappear.”
The filmmaker is also working on a four-part investigative documentary series about police excessiveness, victims and the ongoing protests titled “El estallido,” which refers both to Chile’s social explosion as well as to the globe ruptures experienced by the hundreds of victims who have had their eyes shot out.
Caffiero is in Berlin meeting with potential international partners for the two projects.
“It is the responsibility of filmmakers to make these stories visible to everybody,” he said.
Chilean filmmakers and industry reps attending the European Film Market in Berlin on Sunday made an effort to do just that when they united in protest against the police brutality in their country that has left 445 people with severe eye injuries or blinded, many after being shot by police.
Gathering on the stairs of the Martin Gropius Bau market venue, they held up signs calling for a new constitution, condemning the “impunity” with which they claim Chilean police have been carrying out their brutal crackdown, and covering one eye with their hands to symbolize the hundreds of victims who have been left blinded or with severe eye injuries by police.
More than 40 people have been killed in the protests and, according to data from Chile’s National Institute of Human Rights, some 3,800 injured, including 2,122 wounded by gun fire.
The protests have led to many in the country demanding the resignation of billionaire President Sebastián Piñeraa and a new constitution to replace the current one, which was adopted in 1980 under the Pinochet dictatorship. A national referendum scheduled for April 26 will ask Chilean voters if they want a new constitution.
The atrocities committed by Pinochet still cast a long shadow over the country and the current actions by police are a stark reminder for many of the fragility of democracy, particularly under Piñera‘s right-wing government.
Citing Chilean academic and human rights activist Claudio Nash, Caffiero said such barbaric forms of punishment as taking out people’s eyes have not been carried out by civilizations in a 1,000 years.
Sunday’s action followed similar protests against the Chilean government on Saturday by a group of anonymous activists who shouted, “How can you celebrate Chile when Chile is killing its own people?” while unfurling a large banner from one of the market’s upper floors that read “Chilean state rapes, tortures and murders its people.”
Chile is this year’s EFM Country in Focus.