Philadelphia filmmaker Jamie Moffett, director of the award-winning documentary "The Ordinary Radicals," is releasing the first seven minutes of his second feature-length documentary film online.
The film is narrated by Emmy & Golden Globe winner, Martin Sheen. The film also features interviews with Emmy winning director and former Dean at Eastern University, Betsy Morgan as well as interviews with the former U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador, Robert White.
"Return to El Salvador" explores reconstruction after the civil war that tore the small Latin American country apart from 1980 to 1992. The 12-year conflict that killed over 70,000 people and displaced nearly one-fifth of the population erupted as the deadly manifestation of rising tensions between the wealthy, land-owning elite and the impoverished rural majority. Fighting took place between the Salvadoran Army and the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), a leftist guerrilla organization, resulting in a staggering amount of civilian deaths as the Salvadoran Army bombed and raided villages thought to be sympathetic to the FMLN. These soldiers were trained and supported by the United States military and its School of the Americas (now known as WHINSEC) located in Ft. Benning, Georgia.
In this film, Moffett travels to El Salvador with US citizens dedicated to the solidarity movement as they reconnect with friends they aided in the heat of conflict and who share their struggle to maintain community 17 years after the U.N. Peace Accords marked the end of the war. After sharing their stories, Moffett returns to the United States to expose the government’s responsibility in perpetuating the conflict and how Americans’ tax dollars helped to fund oppression in ways the average citizen may not be aware. He follows Julio Hernandez, a young Salvadoran American, to Ft. Benning, joining thousands of protesters calling for the closing of SOA/WHINSEC that trains Latin American soldiers in counter-insurgency tactics. This October marks the 20th year of protests against the School of the Americas.
The completion of this film comes at a crucial time: It has been thirty years since Archbishop Oscar Romero was assassinated in El Salvador. It has been 20 years since School of the Americas Watch first organized. It has been one year since the election of El Salvadoran President, Mauricio Funes, the first democratic election in El Salvador. It has been less than a year since activists in El Salvador, such as community organizer Marcelo Rivera, started being kidnapped and assassinated. In the very near future, a trial will begin at the World Bank against El Salvador, brought by a Canadian mining company, Pacific Rim, which is accused of being directly and indirectly responsible in the harassment of the people and communities of El Salvador, as well as the disappearance of Marcelo Rivera. Footage from "Return to El Salvador" was recently used in reports by Democracy Now covering the assassination of anti-mining activists in El Salvador.
"Return to El Salvador" represents the power and audacity of solidarity and challenges Americans to question the global impact of their government on struggling nations.
About the Director: Jamie Moffett is the owner and founder of Jamie Moffett Media Design & Production, Inc., an independent film company located in Philadelphia’s Kensington district. Over the past ten years, he has produced, directed, and edited over 50 short films, music videos, and commercials. His first feature-length documentary "The Ordinary Radicals" has screened in over 20 cities across the United States and worldwide since its 2008 release and received recognition at several film festivals, including the Garden State Film Festival, Crossroads Film Festival, ION Film Festival in Dubai, and the Acolade Film Awards. Moffett also co-founded The Simple Way, a non-profit organization dedicated to the betterment of the Kensington community. As a director, he is dedicated to capturing stories of peace and social justice movements worldwide and making them relatable and relevant to an American audience.