Still from Defensora
Still from Defensora


by Rachel Schmidt
A look into the lives of defenders in the resistance who struggle to reclaim their ancestral lands and seek justice for human rights violations.
2013  ·  41m  ·  Canada, Guatemala, United States
English, Mayan, Spanish
English subs
About the Film
Defensora is a documentary about a Mayan Q’eqchi’ resistance against mining in Guatemala. The story is set along the shores of Lake Izabal in the community of El Estor where a nickel mining company has operated for over 50 years. Tensions run high against a backdrop of pro and anti-mining camps, violence and forced evictions. The film takes audiences into the lives of defenders in the resistance who struggle to reclaim their ancestral lands and seek justice in Canadian courts for alleged human rights violations.
Upcoming Screenings

Stay tuned for upcoming screenings!

Festivals and Awards
Columbia Gorge International Film Festival, Winner: Festival Winner
Nevada Film Festival, Winner: Silver Screen Award
Columbia Gorge International Film Festival, Official Selection
Adele Hinkley
Rachel Schmidt and Lee K. Toepfer
Production Company
Film Related
About the Director

Rachel Schmidt

Rachel Schmidt

Rachel Schmidt is an award winning Canadian documentary filmmaker, photographer, global activist and the founder of the Women’s United Liberation Front. Her dispatches have taken her across the world where she has worked with international NGOs to advance human rights for women and girls. Rachel’s work includes Kootenay films like Joe and Gabrielle, the story of two Aboriginal youth trying to fit into a mostly white community and AIDS Lives Here, stories about people living with AIDS/HIV in rural communities. She is currently in development on two documentary series for television, and producing media projects for government. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Victoria and a diploma in Independent Digital Film from Langara College in Vancouver BC.



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