El Equipo, the fifth feature film by two-time Emmy® nominated director Bernardo Ruiz (The Infinite Race), will have its world premiere at Hot Docs Canadian this week.
Working with an array of archival materials that span forty years in part procedural, part true crime thriller, El Equipo tells the history-making collaboration between Dr. Clyde Snow, a legendary forensic scientist originally from Texas, and a group of Argentine university students.
The film takes us on a journey through time back to 1980s Argentina, where the work of Dr. Clyde Snow began with this small group of students. Unbeknowst to them at the time, their work would become pivotal in the Junta Trials in 1985 where members of the de facto military government that ruled Argentina during the dictatorship were tried and sentenced for their crimes. As a side note, the Oscar-nominated film Argentina, 1985 goes into detail about the team of lawyers taking on the herculean task of bringing some justice on behalf of the families and survivors of the dictatorship’s autrocious crimes.
The work Dr. Snow and El Equipo did in Argentina helped the families of the thousands of disappeared (los desaparecidos) have some closure. Soon after, they were being approached by other groups from various parts of the world, including Guatemala, El Salvador, Congo, Mexico and others. With such demand the original members of the team decided to form a non-profit organization, now known as the Equipo Argentino de Antropología Forense (EAAF).
The film primarily focuses on Dr. Snow, his influence on El Equipo, the start of the EAAF, and other teams that came afterwards, with the aid of archival videos, photos and audio interviews. It also gives us a comprehensive look at the importance of having such teams work on behalf of families of many who have disappeared or died at the hands of dictatorships. Their work goes beyond the science and becomes part of human rights advocacy as well.
Bernardo Ruiz and I were able to virtually to discuss his documentary work and El Equipo. He shares his experience meeting Dr. Clyde Snow, working with archival materials, and the importance of the forensic and human rights work El Equipo from Argentina continues to do these days.
El Equipo will also have its premiere in the US nationwide via PBS later this Fall.