Horror Storytelling as Activism: Video
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Horror Storytelling as Activism: Video

by Oxfam
February 26, 2021

Shudder has teamed with Oxfam to shed light on the real-life issues in Jayro Bustamante’s Golden Globe®-nominated La Llorona. Oxfam is a global organization working to end the injustice of poverty.

Updated June 23, 2021: La Llorona has been honored with a Peabody Award. Watch the presentation by Guillermo del Toro to director Jayro Bustamante on the Peabody website.

The horror genre can work as a conduit for social activism.  La Llorona, the latest film from the Guatemalan direct Jayro Bustamante, whispers truth on inequality and the human condition while expanding the dialogue about the unconcluded process of reconciliation in Guatemala – which closely mirrors the realities of the United States today.

La Llorona BTS 1

The inequality crisis is out of control. But inequality is not inevitable – it is a political choice. Every year, the gap between rich and poor gets even wider. The human costs are devastating, with women and girls suffering the most. Despite their huge contribution to our societies through unpaid care work, they are among those who benefit the least from today’s economic system. Guatemala is one of the richest and most diverse countries in Central America, but levels of inequality remain high. The historical exclusion of indigenous people, especially women, means they lack access to education, health services, political participation and land. Their voices are not heard, and their rights are not protected. 

Oxfam is honored to partner with talented filmmakers to draw attention to these important issues. We believe in the power of stories to inspire compassion – and action. La Llorona broaches difficult subjects of historical memory, truth and reconciliation, and transitional justice with rigor and empathy. Told in the realm of intimate, interpersonal relationships, it exemplifies the transformative power of storytelling in exposing deeper truths. La Llorona not only aligns with Oxfam’s values, but also touches upon drivers of forced migration that constitute our local and global priorities: gender-based violence, human rights and exploitation, corruption and political violence, and gross inequality that is breaking down humanity here, in the US, and throughout much of the world.

La Llorona BTS 2

Together with our partners, Oxfam is building a powerful network in the US and Guatemala to mobilize people to take policy and fundraising actions to fight the exploitation of indigenous cultures, gender-based violence, and inequality. Join us to support our work in Guatemala and around the world at

La Llorona BTS 3

To mark the release of La Llorona on Shudder and dive deeper into the topic of horror storytelling as activism, we brought together director Jayro Bustamante, producer Gustavo Matheu, 1992 Nobel Peace Prize Winner Dr. Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Country Director of Oxfam Guatemala Ana Maria Mendez Libby, Congresswoman in the Guatemalan Congress Lucrecia Hernández Mack, The Latinx House co-founder Alex Martinez Kondracke, Shudder Director of Programming Samuel Zimmerman, Head Programmer at Mexico’s Morbido Fest Abraham Castillo, and President of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Claudia Puig. Hear their moving and important conversation in the video embedded above.

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