Through the eyes of three generations of the Estrada family, Guatemala: Trouble In The Highlands tells the story of how migration has traumatized one indigenous highland community, and the complex relationship between the United States and this central American country in crisis. The Guatemalan village of Cajola has been torn apart. Patriarch Aapo Estrada has witnessed countless difficulties over his 80+ years. The worst was the Civil War when over 200,000 men, women and children throughout the indigenous communities of the Mayan highlands—caught between the government militias and the guerillas—were slaughtered. And now, nearly 25 years after the war, many are still leaving, including his own son Eduardo, to find work in the US. Why are they leaving? Following Estrada family members Aapo, Eduardo and granddaughter Izabella, the documentary examines how the community of Cajola has suffered because of migration to the US. By tracking families from Cajola and other highland villages—some who have left, some who remain—Guatemala: Trouble In The Highlands gives the viewer an up-close and personal understanding of the migration crisis through testimonies of select families who are experiencing the migration.

Why is this documentary Important?

Questions we will address include: What is the cause for this unprecedented migration? What impact do the policies of both the US and Guatemala governments have on how the crisis is being handled? What lessons have been learned so that we, as citizens, and our government, can more effectively deal with the underlying causes of the crisis?

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The Team
Hal Rifken has worked for numerous cable and broadcast networks domestically and abroad.Read More
Mark was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala. With an MA in Latin American Studies..Read More
Alana’s latest feature documentary production is the institutional history of the Peace Corps..Read More
George C. Vena earned a BA degree in Political Science and Spanish from Marquette University..Read More
Our Partners
Arts Wisconsin
Revue Magazine
Million Mile Walker
Rotary International
A Documentary Film Production, Guatemala: Trouble In The Highlands
"A Documentary Film Production, Guatemala: Trouble In The Highlands", Revue Magazine, February 2020
Hugs not Walls: Reuniting the Children
“Hugs not Walls: Reuniting the Children”, by Mark D. Walker, Arizona Literary Magazine 2020, November 2019, Reissued in Revue Magazine, December 2019
Trouble in the Highlands
“Trouble in the Highlands”, by Mark D. Walker, WorldView Magazine, Summer 2019, Reissued in Revue Magazine, September 2019
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