Cinema Libre Studio has announced the U.S. theatrical release of the feature film Olvidados (Forgotten), which was Bolivia’s Official Entry to the Foreign Language Film category for the 87th Academy Awards. The film will premiere in New York City on September 18 at the Village East Cinema, followed by October 2 at the Laemmle Royal in Los Angeles.
Produced by Bolivian actress Carla Ortiz, directed by Mexico’s Carlos Bolado and starring Damián Alcázar, Olvidados is an epic, historical feature that tackles the dark past of Latin America under military dictatorships in the 70s.
The film follows retired General José Mendieta (Alcázar), who after suffering a heart attack, is haunted by his dark past as an officer in Operation Condor, the CIA-backed campaign of political repression in Latin America that was responsible for executions, torture, and imprisonments in the 1970’s. It is estimated that over 400,000 people were imprisoned and 30,000 forcibly disappeared as a result of these government actions.
In a letter to his son Pablo (Bernardo Peña), Mendieta confesses the role he played in the abduction, persecution, and execution of countless men and women during his posting to Chile. Journalist Marco (Carlotto Cotta) and his pregnant wife Luciá (Carla Ortiz) are among those who were arrested, along with their activist friend Antonio (Tomás Fonzi) and revolutionary Andrea (Ana Calentano). They suffer terribly under Mendieta and his cohort Sanera (Rafael Ferro), which leads to a cascade of betrayals, secrets, and stolen lives that spans generations.
Filmed in Chile, Bolivia, and New York, Olvidados is the biggest budget production to come out of Bolivia, a country with a nascent film industry. Renowned actors from five countries appear in this international production, which specifically address the horrors perpetrated under Operation Condor, a CIA-backed plan introduced by Richard Nixon’s Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, which was responsible for: 50,000 killed; 30,000 “disappeared”; and 400,000 arrested and imprisoned in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay.
Philippe Diaz, founder of Cinema Libre Studio says, "Olvidados is a very powerful and very important film that all North Americans should see. We have to accept once and for all that the use of torture didn’t start in Iraq. It was always a tool of war used all over the world from South America to the Middle East and it is the price that we are paying now."
After premiering at the International Film Festival of India, the film has been programmed as a gala screening or as an official selection at festivals in Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, and the U.S. It earned six Platino Awards nominations and recently won 4 Maya Awards for Best Film, Best Actor (Christian Mercado), Best Actress (Carla Ortiz), and Best Philanthropic Work done by a Celebrity (Carla Ortiz).