The Human Rights Documentation Initiative

Deborah Shaffer documentary footage of Chile, El Salvador and Nicaragua



Descriptive Summary

Creator Deborah Shaffer,
Title Deborah Shaffer documentary footage of Chile, El Salvador and Nicaragua
Dates: 1984-1988
Abstract The Deborah Shaffer documentary footage of Chile, El Salvador and Nicaragua collection contains unedited, raw footage, audio recordings, interviews, transcripts, correspondence, film posters, and film production notes from three of Deborah Shaffer’s film productions: Witness to War: Dr. Charlie Clements, Fire from the Mountain, and Dance of Hope The collection also contains a full-length 16mm print of Shaffer’s short documentary Nicaragua: Report from the Front.
Accession No. 2012-02
OCLC Record No.
Extent 1,277 reels of 16mm film and magnetic tape, 361 ¼” audio tape reels, 44 cassette tapes, 21 umatic cassette tapes, four 35mm reels and approximately 36” of paper materials
Language English, Spanish
Repository Human Rights Documentation Initiative, The University of Texas at Austin

Historical Note

Award-winning independent documentary filmmaker Deborah Shaffer began her career in the 1970s when her involvement with the anti-war movement connected her to the Newsreel Collective, a group focused on making documentaries surrounding the Vietnam War and the political protests of the 1960s and 1970s[1]. After working with the Newsreel Collective, Shaffer and several other women in Newsreel who were inspired by the feminist movement, founded Pandora Films in 1971, an all-women’s cooperative filmmaking group centered on women’s issues, sexual education, and reproductive rights. In order to address a need for more access to comprehensive sexual education in high schools, Pandora Films produced How About You?, a sexual education film for teenagers and directed by Shaffer[2]. In 1975, Shaffer became aware of Latin American issues while working as a producer on Jorge Reyes’ documentary Avenue of the Americas about Allende’s leadership in Chile. Before beginning her work with Reyes, Shaffer had little experience with Latin America, but she learned Spanish specifically to work on the film[3]. Reyes’ documentary opened Shaffer’s eyes to the pressing issues in Latin America, and a meeting with Joyce Horman, the widow of disappeared journalist Charles Horman, cemented her interest in producing documentaries about Latin America[4]. She produced her first documentary film on Latin America, Nicaragua: Report from the Front about the US-contra funded efforts in Nicaragua during the Sandinista Revolution in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

In the 1980s, Deborah Shaffer was asked by producer David Goodman to direct a documentary film about Dr. Charlie Clements, an American physician providing medical care to the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front in the Salvadoran Civil War[5]. Clements, after flying over 50 missions in the US Air Force during the Vietnam War, decided the war was immoral and refused to fly further missions in support of the US invasion of Cambodia[6]. Upon his discharge from the military, Clements trained as a physician and traveled to El Salvador, where he worked as a medic in rebel-held territories during the decade long Salvadoran Civil War. In 1983, Dr. Clements published his autobiography Witness to War, focusing on his involvement in the US Air Force, his personal change and military discharge; and the beginnings of his work in El Salvador. Shaffer’s 1985 documentary Witness to War: Dr. Charlie Clements, released by Skylight Pictures, contains interview footage with Dr. Charlie Clements, shots of his work in El Salvador and the work of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front, in addition to archival footage of the Vietnam War and Dr. Clements past solidarity work in the United States[7]. Witness to War: Dr. Charlie Clements, won an Academy Award (Best Documentary—Short Subjects) in 1986 and was aired on PBS Television[8].

Fire from the Mountain, a full length documentary feature, recounts the experience of Sandinista Omar Cabezas, and is titled after Cabezas’ autobiography of the same name. The film contains interviews with Cabezas as he describes his personal journey from student and activist to guerrilla fighter in Nicaragua during the 1970s; footage of Nicaragua before and after the 1979 insurrection; and audio of Cabezas reading from his autobiography. Fire from the Mountain was screened at the Sundance Film Festival in 1988, and was nominated for an Emmy[9].

Shaffer’s 1989 documentary Dance of Hope, a collaboration with Lavonne Poteet, spans the time just before and after the 1988 Chilean plebiscite that removed Augusto Pinochet from power. Dance of Hope examines the lives of eight Chilean women and members of the Association of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared. Dance of Hope contains footage from protests orchestrated by the women’s group, in addition to personal interviews from both supporters and detractors of the Pinochet regime, interspersed with footage of the 1988 plebiscite that ousted Pinochet. The film also contains footage of an Amnesty International concert, where Sting and Peter Gabriel performed “They Dance Alone,” a song written by Sting; and inspired by/dedicated to the women of the Association of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared. Dance of Hope was screened at the Sundance Film Festival in 1989 and won the Prix d’Or prize at the International Festival of Audiovisual Programs[10].

Shaffer has been awarded both a Guggenheim Fellowship and an Irene Diamond Lifetime Achievement Award for her documentary filmmaking and contribution to the field of global human rights issues. Her 2010 film, To Be Heard, is a collaboration of several filmmakers and profiles three teenagers growing up in the Bronx as they spend four years learning to write poetry and participate in spoken word events[11].

References

  • [1] Kennedy, Kelsey. “Director Deborah Shaffer” Vox Magazine 3 March 2011. http://www.voxmagazine.com/stories/2011/03/03/deborah-shaffer/ (Accessed 12 September 2013)
  • [2] Lynton, Linda. “The Politics of Personal Commitment: a Profile of Deborah Shaffer” Cineaste 15 (1987): 36-39.
  • [3] Ibid.
  • [4] Wicks, Michael. “Uphill Struggle for Oscar Winning Director” The Pittsburg Press, 13 September 1990. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=VXQcAAAAIBAJ&sjid=02MEAAAAIBAJ&dq=deborah-shaffer&pg=5044%2C7010326 (Accessed 12 September 2013)
  • [5] Lynton, Linda. “The Politics of Personal Commitment: a Profile of Deborah Shaffer” Cineaste 15 (1987): 36-39.
  • [6] “About Us,” Harvard Kennedy School Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Harvard University. http://www.hks.harvard.edu/centers/carr/about-us/center-staff (Accessed 12 September 2013)
  • [7] Silber, Irina Carlota. “Witness to War: a Journey of Conscience Directed by Deborah Shaffer” Visual Anthropology Review 26 (2010): 61-62. Doi: 10.1111/j.1548-7458.2010.01062.x (Accessed 12 September 2013)
  • [8] “Deborah Shaffer Biography” John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. http://www.gf.org/fellows/13334-deborah-shaffer (Accessed 12 September 2013)
  • [9] Ibid.
  • [10] Ibid.
  • [11] “About” To Be Heard. http://www.tobeheard.org/about.html (Accessed 12 September 2013)

Scope and Contents Note

Files in this collection are arranged into the following three subgroups:

Subgroup I, Witness to War, bulk 1984-1985

Contains six series. The first series, Edited Film Production, contains the edited film production of Witness to War and the edited soundtrack for the film. The second series,Film Dailies contains raw, unedited footage and audio shot during the film production. The third series, Selects, contains edited footage generated during the creation of the final film production. The fourth series, Archival Footage, contains archival stock footage from the US Air Force, not created by Deborah Shaffer, but used in the final edited production of the film. The fifth series, Sound Recordings, contains unedited and edited audio recordings of interviews with Dr. Charlie Clements, and wild sound recordings taken in El Salvador. The sixth series, Film Documentation and Promotional Material, contains interview transcripts, invoices, correspondence, tiny trims, cue sheets and promotional materials from the production of Witness to War.

Subgroup II, Fire from the Mountain, 1985-1987

Contains five series. The first series, Edited Film Productions contains the original Spanish and English-dubbed productions of Fire from the Mountain. The second series, Film Dailies, contains raw, unedited audio and video footage shot during the production of the film. The third series, Archival and Neg Outs, contains negative and positive prints of selects from the raw footage. The fourth series, Sound Recordings, contains recordings of voiceovers and interviews with Omar Cabezas in addition to ambient sound shot during the production of the film. The fifth series, Film Documentation and Promotional Material, contains invoices, cue sheets and transcripts generated during the production of the film, in addition to promotional materials and posters for the film.

Subgroup III, Dance of Hope, 1987-1989

Contains four series. The first series, Edited Production Footage, contains the full-length edited feature Dance of Hope. The second series, Film Dailies, contains unedited audiovisual footage created during the production of the film. The third series, Neg Outs, Work Prints and Selects,contains work prints of the film and selects from the raw footage. The fourth series, Sound Recordings, contains unedited interviews and wild sound audio recordings generated during the production of Dance of Hope. The fifth series, Film Documentation and Promotional Material, contains interview footage, subtitle cards, title cards, and cue sheets created during the production of the film.


Restrictions

Access Restrictions

Unrestricted.

Use Restrictions

These materials are made available by the University of Texas Libraries solely for the purposes of research, teaching and private study. All intellectual property rights are retained by the legal copyright holders. The University of Texas does not hold the copyright to the content of this file. Formal permission to reuse or republish this content must be obtained from the copyright holder.


Index Terms

The is classified under the following Subject Headings in the University of Texas Libraries catalog:
Subjects (Persons)
Cabezas Lacayo, Omar
Clements, Charles
Shaffer, Deborah
Skylight Pictures (Firm)
Somoza, Anastasio, 1925-1980
Subjects
Activists, Human Rights
Chile--Politics and government--1973-1988.
Civil war--El Salvador--History--20th century--Personal narratives, American.
Civil war--Nicaragua--History--20th century.
Cueca (Dance)
Desaparecidos
Disappeared persons--Chile--History--20th century.
Documentary films--Chile
El Salvador -- History -- 1979-1992.
Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional.
Pinochet Ugarte, Augusto--Public opinion
Sandinista National Liberation Front
Places
Guazapa (El Salvador).
Managua (Nicaragua)
San Salvador (El Salvador)
Santiago (Chile)

Related Archival Material

Additional materials related to the Pinochet dictatorship’s and human rights violations in Chile can be found in the following collection in the Benson Latin American Collection: Joyce Horman and Edmund Horman Papers, 1973-


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Cite as: [Name of file], Human Rights Documentation Initiative, Deborah Shaffer documentary footage of Chile, El Salvador and Nicaragua, Human Rights Documentation Initiative, University of Texas Libraries, the University of Texas at Austin, [link to file if applicable].


Subgroup I. Witness to War

Series I, Edited Film Production and Soundtrack, 1984-1985
(189 16mm reels, 90 1/4" magnetic audio tape reels, 3 1/2" audio tape reels, 12" paper materials)

box folder
1 8 WITN #8, 1985
box folder
1 9 WITN #9, 1985
11 "Witness to War" Edited Film Production, 1984
1 "Witness to War" Spanish Soundtrack, 1985
box
9 "Witness to War" Master Soundtrack, 1985



Series II. Film Dailies, 1984

box
1-2 "Dr. Charlie" Dailies, Rolls 1-12, 1984
box
1
(2 reels)
box
2
(10 reels)
box
3-4 "Dr. Charlie" Dailies, Rolls 25-36, 1984
box
3
(14 reels)
box
4
(7 reels)



Series III. Selects, 1984

box
4-6 “Dr. Charlie” Selects, Rolls 12-24, 1984
box
4
(7 reels)
box
5
(14 reels)
box
6
(3 reels)
box
6-7 “Dr. Charlie” Selects, unlabeled, 1984
box
6
(11 reels)
box
7
(4 reels)



Series IV. Archival Footage, Slides and Stills, circa 1984

box
7-9 Archival Footage, Slides and Stills, circa 1984
box
7
(10 reels)
box
8
(6 reels)
box
9
(6 reels)



Series V, Sound Recordings, circa 1984

box
55 Location Sounds, unlabeled, circa 1984
Cassette Backups, 1-30, circa 1984
Dr. Charlie Voiceovers, Rolls 1-5, circa 1984



Series VI, Film Documentation and Promotional Material, 1981-1985, 1988

box folder
10 1-8 Interview Transcripts, 1984
box folder
11 1 Cue Sheets, 1984
1 Production Notes, 1984
2 Tiny Trims, 1984
4 Production Research and Correspondence, 1984, January 1985
5 Records and Invoices, 1983, 1984, 1988
box folder
DR 43 English language poster for El Salvador: Another Vietnam, circa 1981
[1 poster]
German language poster for El Salvador: El Pueblo Vencera, circa 1982
[1 poster]



Subgroup II. Fire from the Mountain

Series I, Edited Film Production, 1985, 1987
(501 16mm reels, 4 35mm reels, 127 1/4" magnetic audio tape reels, 12" paper materials)

box
27-28 Fire from the Mountain, 1987
box
27
(8 reels)
box
28
(6 reels)
box folder
27 10 Fire from the Mountain, Spanish Version, 1987
box
60 Fire From the Mountain, umatic cassettes, 1987
box folder
27 8-9 Fire from the Mountain, English Soundtrack, 1987
box folder
28 1-5 Fire from the Mountain, Spanish Soundtrack, 1987
box folder
27 1 "Nicaragua: Report from the Front", 1985



Series II. Film Dailies, circa 1985

box
12-13 “Fire from the Mountain” Dailies, Rolls 1-15, circa 1985
box
12
(14 reels)
box
13
(12 reels)
box
13-15 “Fire from the Mountain” Dailies, Rolls 16-27, circa 1985
box
13
(2 reels)
box
14
(14 reels)
box
15
(4 reels)
box
15-16 “Fire from the Mountain” Dailies, Rolls 28-39, circa 1985
box
15
(10 reels)
box
16
(9 reels)
box
16-18 “Fire from the Mountain” Dailies, Rolls 40-51, circa 1985
box
16
(5 reels)
box
17
(14 reels)
box
18
(4 reels)
box
18-19 “Fire from the Mountain” Dailies, Rolls 52-55 (MOS), circa 1985
box
18
(10 reels)
box
19
(5 reels)
box
19-20 “Omar” Dailies, Rolls 1-38, circa 1985
box
19
(9 reels)
box
20
(6 reels)
box
20-21 “Omar” Dailies, Rolls 39-74, circa 1985
box
20
(8 reels)
box
21
(8 reels)
box
21-22 “Omar” Dailies, Rolls 75-107, circa 1985
box
21
(6 reels)
box
22
(13 reels)
box
22-23 “Omar” Dailies, Rolls 108-154, circa 1985
box
22
(8 reels)
box
23
(10 reels)



Series III. Selects, circa 1987

box
23-26 “Fire from the Mountain” unlabeled selects, circa 1985
box
23
(3 reels)
box
24
(2 reels)
box
25
(10 reels)
box
26
(11 reels)
box
24-26 “Fire from the Mountain” unlabeled archive outs 35 IP's, 1987
box
24
(8 reels)
box
25
(4 reels)
box
26
(3 reels)



Series IV. Sound Recordings, June 1985, May-December 1986, August 1987

box
53 Audio Recordings, Reels 1-30, 6-20 May 1986, 18 August 1986
box
55 Audio Recordings, Reels 31-111, 25-31 May 1986, 20 December 1986
box
53 Omar Voiceovers, Reels 1-5, 18 August 1987
box
54 Omar Interviews, 25-29 June 1985
Unlabeled Audio Recordings, circa 1985



Series V. Film Documentation and Promotional Material, 1985, 1986, 1987

box folder
61 1-2 Cue Sheets, circa 1986
box folder
29 1-6 Interview Transcripts, circa 1986
box folder
30 1-2 Interview Transcripts, circa 1986
3 Production Notebooks, circa 1987
4 Tiny Trims, circa 1987
5 Records and Invoices, 1986-1987
box folder
DR 43 Poster, "Artists Call Against US Intervention in Central America", January 1984
[1 poster]
English language poster for Fire from the Mountain, circa 1987
[1 poster]
German language poster for Fire from the Mountain, circa 1985
[1 poster]



Subgroup III. Dance of Hope

Series I, Edited Film Production, 1989
(588 16mm reels, 145 1/4" audio reels, 45 1/4" audio cassettes, 12" paper)

box folder
28 8-10 Dance of Hope, 1989
box
60 Dance of Hope, umatic cassettes, 1989
box folder
28 11-12 Dance of Hope, Xenon Print, 1989



Series II. Film Dailies, circa 1988

box
31-32 “Dance of Hope” Dailies, Rolls 1-12, circa 1988
box
31
(14 reels)
box
32
(10 reels)
box
32-34 “Dance of Hope” Dailies, Rolls 13-24, circa 1988
box
32
(6 reels)
box
33
(14 reels)
box
34
(3 reels)
box
32-35 “Dance of Hope” Dailies, Rolls 25-36, circa 1988
box
32
(1 reel)
box
33
(14 reels)
box
34
(3 reels)
box
34-36 “Dance of Hope” Dailies, Rolls 37-48, circa 1988
box
34
(1 reel)
box
35
(5 reels)
box
36
(14 reels)
box
36-38 “Dance of Hope” Dailies, Rolls 49-60, circa 1988
box
36
(2 reels)
box
37
(14 reels)
box
38
(6 reels)
box
38-39 "Dance of Hope" Dailies, Rolls 61-71b, circa 1988
box
38
(7 reels)
box
39
(14 reels)
box
40-41 "Dance of Hope" Dailies, Rolls 72-83, circa 1988
box
40
(14 reels)
box
41
(8 reels)
box
41-42 “Dance of Hope” Dailies, Rolls 1-20 (MOS), circa 1988
box
41
(6 reels)
box
42
(11 reels)



Series III. Neg Outs, Work Prints and Selects, circa 1988

box
42-43 Copihue "Chile Mujer" Rolls, 1-32, 1988
box
42
(3 reels)
box
43
(9 reels)
box
43-44 Copihue "Chile Mujer" Rolls, 33-60, 1988
box
43
(5 reels)
box
44
(7 reels)
box
44-45 Copihue "Chile Mujer" Rolls, 61-93, 1988
box
44
(7 reels)
box
45
(7 reels)
box
45-46 Copihue "Chile Mujer" Rolls, 94-120, 1988
box
45
(7 reels)
box
46
(3 reels)
box
46-47 Copihue "Chile Mujer" Rolls, 121-146, 1988
box
46
(11 reels)
box
47
(1 reels)
1-13 Copihue "Chile Mujer" Rolls, 147-172, 1988
box
47-48 Copihue "Chile Mujer" Rolls, 173-193, 1988
box
47
(2 reels)
box
48
(7 reels)
box
49-50 "Dance of Hope" Selects, unlabeled, circa 1988
box
49
(2 reels)
box
50
(11 reels)
box
48-51, 53-54 "Dance of Hope" Work Prints, circa 1988
box
48
(7 reels)
box
49
(12 reels)
box
50
(3 reels)
box
51
(3 reels)
box
53
(1-11 reels)
box
54
(4 reels)



Series IV. Sound Recordings, circa 1988

box folder
51 1-2, 6-14 "Dance of Hope" unlabeled sound recordings, circa 1988
57-59 "Dance of Hope" unlabeled cassettes, circa 1988
box
1, 52, 54 "Dance of Hope" unlabeled wild sound, circa 1988
box
1
(4 reels)
box
52
(14 reels)
box
54
(6 reels)



Series V. Film Documentation and Promotional Material, 1987-1989

box folder
61 1, 3 Cue Sheets, circa 1988
box folder
62 1-5 Transcripts, circa 1988
5 Production Notes, circa 1988
box folder
63 1,3 Title Cards and Subtitle Films, circa 1988
1 Tiny Trims, circa 1988
1 Records and Invoices, circa 1988
2 Magazines and Pamphlets, 1987, 1988
2 Manila Envelopes with Drawings, circa 1988
box folder
DR 43 English language poster for Dance of Hope circa 1989
[1 poster]