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Portraits of a Search
A film by Alicia Calderón
Mexico, 2015, 74 minutes, Color, DVD, Spanish, English subtitles
Order No. W161171
More than 20,000 people disappeared in Mexico during the horrifically violent war on drugs waged by former President Calderon. With each missing person, a family is left behind in a desperate search to get answers from a government that is suspiciously ambivalent. Putting a human face on the most harrowing of statistics, director Alicia Calderon courageously captures the stories of three mothers - Natividad, Guadalupe, and Margarita - as they search for their children who have gone missing. One mother constantly retraces the last steps of her son, combing empty fields for his body; another travels all the way to Washington, DC, to plead for US intervention; and the last simply tries to forget the emptiness and raise her now-motherless grandson. In one of the most powerful documentaries about the human casualties of the Mexican narco-wars, these women’s stories are among the many that stand for truth and justice for the 26,000 missing people in Mexico today. With their lives now completely devoted to seeking out the truth, they pursue any avenue possible, in the face of an indifferent government which considers their loved ones to be "collateral casualties" of the drug war.


  • Hot Docs Documentary Film Festival
  • Sheffield Doc/Fest
  • Ambulante Film Festival
  • Thessaloniki Documentary Festival
  • Femcine Chile
  • Cine Las America Film Festival
  • Festival de Cine de Lima
  • Melbourne Documentary Film Festival
  • Festival International de cine y Derechos Humanos, Argentina
  • Festival International de cine y Derechos Humanos, Uruguay

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    "One of the most powerful documentaries about the human casualties of the Mexican drug wars."
    Heather Haynes

    "A film that transcends borders and countries….that touches the deepest fibers of being."
    Jury, Monterrey International Film Festival

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    Portraits of a Search is included in the following Special Collections.
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WMM offers film collections on a variety of specific subject areas, including the collections VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: Ending the Silence, BODY IMAGE, and AFRICAN-AMERICAN: Celebrate the Lives of African-American Women.

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Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitiates the production, promotion, distribution, and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. contact us