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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 10, 2007

El Salvadoran filmmaker to screen and discuss film on UI campus Oct. 17

Daniel Flores y Ascencio, an El Salvadoran cinematographer who recently completed "Ama: The Memory of Time," will visit the University of Iowa campus for a film screening and discussion at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 17. The event takes place in Room E205 of the Adler Journalism Building on the UI campus and is free and open to the public.

"Ama" relays the story of a violent episode in El Salvadoran history known as "La Matanza" or The Massacre. The film tells the story of the El Salvadoran state's violent repression of an indigenous rights movement from the memories of two elders, Doña Paula and Don Juan Ama. Both are descendents of José Feliciano Ama, an indigenous Nahuatl-Pipil leader from the community of Izalco, located in what is now the western part of El Salvador. Ama led a revolt to vindicate long-standing grievances against racism and class exploitation that ended in 1932 with the El Salvadoran military's killing of more than 30,000 peasants and indigenous people as part of a genocidal campaign to wipe out indigenous dress, languages and cultural traditions.

In the film, Flores y Ascencio uses oral history traditions of the Izalcos and shares 94-year-old Don Juan Ama's first-hand, eyewitness account to reconstruct of one of El Salvador's darkest historical moments. The film has prompted review of the 1930s events and a Truth Commission inquiry into the massacre.

Flores y Ascencio was born in El Salvador of Mayan-Nonoalco descent. He is a poet and filmmaker and is founder and president of the José Feliciano Ama Foundation. He is also director of "Huevos Indios Productions" and a guest editor of New York's "Bomb Magazine." For more information or special accommodations, contact Laura Graham, associate professor of anthropology in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, at 319-335-0517 or

This event is sponsored by the UI Center for Human Rights (UICHR), International Programs and the American Indian and Native Studies Program.

UICHR is part of UI International Programs, which enables UI students, faculty, staff and the public to learn from and about the world. Its offices, degree programs and events provide life-changing opportunities on campus and abroad, heighten intellectual and cultural diversity, and give all university constituents access to vital international knowledge. For more information, visit or call 319-353-2700. International Programs is part of the UI Office of the Provost.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Laura Graham, UI Department of Anthropology, 319-335-0517,; Kelli Andresen, UI International Programs, 319-335-2026,; Lois J. Gray, University News Services, 319-384-0077,