Join us at the screening of DEATH BY A THOUSAND CUTS*, followed by a discussion with Juan Mejía Botero, the film's director, and Jake Kheel, the film's co-director and producer. The talk will be moderated by Brian Farrell, Director, David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies.
*Film in Spanish and Kreyol with English subtitles
About the film
In DEATH BY A THOUSAND CUTS, Eligio Eloy Vargas, alias Melaneo, a Dominican Park Ranger in the Sierra de Bahoruco National Park was found brutally murdered by machete. At the time, he was believed to have been on patrol investigating an illegal charcoal production site often run by Haitians coming across the border into protected Dominican forests. This murder becomes the metaphor for the larger story of increasing tension between Haiti and the Dominican Republic over illicit charcoal exploitation and mass deforestation.
Juan Mejía Botero
Juan Mejia Botero is an award-winning film director with over 15 years of experience in feature and short documentaries. His work has focused primarily on human rights abuses and struggles for social justice around the world. He has worked extensively in Latin America and the Caribbean where he has directed a number of films around matters of forced displacement, ethnic autonomy, state violence, and the competition for natural resources, which have played widely in the festival circuit and also television. Juan’s directorial debut, Uprooted, won a number of awards and aired nationally on PBS. His feature documentary The Battle for Land, was a winner of a production grant from the Colombian Ministry of Culture Cinema Fund and a postproduction grant from the Tribeca Film Institute.
Jake is a leader in the field of sustainable development. For over ten years he has diverse confronted social and environmental challenges in the Dominican Republic as Vice President of Sustainability of Grupo Puntacana and Vice President of the Grupo Puntacana Foundation, successfully implementing sustainability programs that have garnered the company many global sustainability awards. In 2001, as a graduate student conducting his Master’s thesis, Jake saw firsthand the relentless deforestation in the Sierra de Bahoruco and the potential for conflict between neighboring Haiti and the Dominican Republic over this unique national park. This began a nearly two-decade interest in the Sierra de Bahoruco and its steady decline that eventually led him conceive of Death by a Thousand Cuts.
Brian D. Farrell
Brian is the Director of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, and Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and Curator in Entomology at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University. He is an authority on coevolution between insects and plants and a specialist on the biology of beetles. He is the author of many dozens of scientific papers and book chapters on the evolution of ecological interactions between plants, beetles and other insects in the tropics and temperate zone. Professor Farrell also spearheads initiatives to repatriate digital information from scientific specimens of insects in museums to their tropical countries of origin. In 2011-2012, he was a Fulbright Scholar to the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.
The event is co-sponsored by the Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean Program of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies.