'The Art of Political Murder': Release date, plot, trailer and all you need to know about HBO documentary
George Clooney is one of the executive producers of the documentary, which chronicles the investigation into Bishop Gerardi's murder
In April 1998, Bishop Juan Gerardi was attacked in his garage and beaten to death. The human rights activist had presented a report that outlined the atrocities of the army in the wake of the Guatemalan Civil War. Three army officers – Colonel Byron Disrael Lima Estrada and Captain Byron Lima Oliva (who were father and son), and José Obdulio Villanueva – were convicted of Gerardi's murder in 2001 and sentenced to 30-year prison terms.
Bishop Geraldi had long been an advocate for the indigenous Mayans of the country and played a major role in getting indigenous languages recognized as official languages in Guatemala. HBO's latest documentary, 'The Art of Political Murder' chronicles the investigation into Bishop Gerardi's murder, highlighting the team of young investigators who take on the case and begin to unearth deception, misconduct, and corruption that reach the highest levels of government. Read on to know more about the documentary.
'The Art of Political Murder' will premiere on HBO on Wednesday, December 16, at 9/8c.
The official synopsis for the documentary states: "Just two days after publishing a damning report blaming the atrocities of the civil war on the Guatemalan military, Bishop Gerardi is found bludgeoned to death in the parish house garage of the Church of San Sebastián in Guatemala. Fearing a cover-up, the young investigators who co-wrote the report with Gerardi, defy dangerous intimidations to expose a web of conspiracy and murder that entangles the upper echelons of the government. The documentary is filled with startling twists and surprises, exposing the violence and corruption of post-war Guatemala's fragile democracy through a case that would become a symbol of the country's struggle for accountability and justice."
The film interweaves archival footage and photos with present-day interviews of those involved in exposing the truth of Gerardi's murder, many of whom speak to his ongoing legacy, including Ronalth Ochaeta, director of the Catholic Church's Human Rights Office (ODHA); Edgar Gutiérrez, director of the Recovery of Historical Memory Project (REMHI), who worked closely with Gerardi; Francisco Goldman, author of 'The Art of Political Murder'; human rights activist Helen Mack; journalist Claudia Méndez Arriaza; former ODHA human rights investigators Rodrigo Salvadó, Arturo Aguilar and Fernando Penados; former Guatemalan Public Ministry special prosecutors Otto Ardón and Leopoldo Zeissig; private investigator and attorney Jack Palladino; Mynor Melgar, former head of the ODHA legal team; and eyewitness Rubén Chanax, whose bombshell testimony at trial changed the course of the case.
'The Art of Political Murder' is produced by Rise Films and Smokehouse Pictures in association with Artemis Rising Foundation, Quickfire Films, and Independent. It is directed by Paul Taylor and produced by Teddy Leifer and Regina K. Scully.
The documentary is executive produced by George Clooney, Grant Heslov, David Harding, and Claudia Harding. The associate producers are James Atherton, Jan Pace, Cora Palfrey, Sarah Lebutsch, Chris Matson, and Sarah Shepard. The consulting producer is Francisco Goldman. For HBO, the executive producers are Nancy Abraham and Lisa Heller, and the supervising producer is Jesse Weinraub.
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