Granito de Arena/Grain of Sand

Film. Produced by Jill Freidberg. Corrugated Films. 2005. 62 minutes.
Documentary about teachers, parents, and students fighting to defend Mexico’s public education system from the impacts of economic globalization.

Themes: Education, Labor, Organizing, World History/Global Studies

granitoFor over 20 years, global economic forces have been dismantling public education in Mexico, but always in the constant shadow of popular resistance.

Granito de Arena is the story of that resistance — the story of hundreds of thousands of public schoolteachers whose grassroots, non-violent movement took Mexico by surprise, and who have endured brutal repression in their 25-year struggle for social and economic justice in Mexico’s public schools.

Completed in 2005, Granito de Arena provides context and background to the unprecedented popular uprising that exploded in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2006. It serves as an excellent prequel to another Corrugated Film production, Un Poquito de Tanta Verdad.

parent-fists-yellow-for-sit_3Award-winning Seattle filmmaker, Jill Freidberg, spent two years in southern Mexico documenting the efforts of over 100,000 teachers, parents, and students fighting to defend the country’s public education system from the devastating impacts of economic globalization.

Freidberg combines footage of strikes and direct actions with 25 years worth of never-before-seen archival images to deliver a compelling and unsettling story of resistance, repression, commitment, and solidarity. [Filmmaker’s description.]


Includes interviews with Eduardo Galeano and Maude Barlow and a moving soundtrack with music by DJ Food, Los Mocosos, Correo Aereo, PlanB,  Slowrider, Grupo Mono Blanco, and John Holowach.

“Important. . . disturbing. . . a film that views education from below, from the classroom and the community, from the rank-and-file and the grassroots of both rural and urban Mexico. All of those concerned about issues of education, human rights, labor unions, Latin America and globalization will want to see this inspiring film.” —Mexican Labor News and Analysis

“This documentary is essential for understanding the public education crisis in Latin America. It bears witness to teachers’ struggles against the pedagogy of exclusion generated by neoliberal policy. Jill Freidberg’s narrative is resounding and overwhelming.  The film is a cry of outrage; the message, a cry of hope.” —Pablo Gentili, Public Policy Laboratory, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

“Exciting, inspiring. An extraordinary account of ordinary people organizing, protesting, resisting, against enormous odds. Shows a grassroots movement of teachers, parents, and students in Mexico, defying the police and the government in their demands for a truly democratic education. What becomes clear as you watch this film is the pernicious effect of globalization and privatization on the education of children.” —Howard Zinn,  A People’s History of the United States

More about the film from Corrugated Films.

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