Feb 2, 2007

Jennifer Lopez, Bordertown & Amnesty

Thursday, February 01, 2007


Upcoming Dramatic Film Based on Mass Murders of Women in Juarez, Mexico; New Web site to Galvanize Public to Act to End Femicide

(Los Angeles) – Amnesty International (AI) today announced that Jennifer Lopez will receive its “Artists for Amnesty” award at the Berlin Film Festival in recognition of her work as producer and star of Bordertown, a film exposing the ongoing murders of hundreds of women in the border city of Juarez, Mexico. Nobel Peace Prize winner
Jose Ramos-Horta will present the award to Lopez at a ceremony co-hosted by Amnesty International and the William Morris Agency on February 14.

In Bordertown, Lopez plays an investigative journalist reporting on the murders. Antonio Banderas and Martin Sheen co-star in the dramatic thriller, directed by Gregory Nava. Bordertown will have its world premiere on February 15 at the Berlin Film Festival.

“I am deeply honored to receive this award,” stated Lopez. “Since first hearing of these atrocities in 1998, when Gregory Nava came to me with this project, I desperately wanted to tell this story. I began working to ensure we made this film in order to bring the attention of the world to this tragedy and to pressure the Mexican government to bring to justice those responsible for these horrible crimes.”

“It sends a strong message to the public when someone like Jennifer Lopez demonstrates her personal commitment to a cause,” said Larry Cox, executive director of Amnesty International USA (AIUSA). “We are thrilled that her support will help us reach entirely new audiences who can invigorate an international movement to save women’s lives.”

Lopez will also receive special recognition and thanks from Norma Andrade, co-founder of Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa (Bring Our Daughters Home), an organization consisting of mothers and families of the murdered women of Juarez. The AI ceremony on February 14 marks the sixth anniversary of the kidnapping of Andrade’s 17-year-old daughter Lilia, who was raped and murdered in Juarez.

Viewing Bordertown was a very powerful and emotional experience for Andrade. “Jennifer met with me and the other mothers and showed us the film before anyone else saw it,” she explained. “It was as if I were seeing my daughter again. Like Lilia, the girl in the film was 17 years old, worked in a NAFTA factory and was kidnapped on her way home. She was raped and killed – for no reason except that these men know they can do it and no one will stop them. That is why the murders continue today.”

More than 400 women have been murdered in these cities since 1993. Local investigations into the killings have been sloppy and fraught with problems, including unjustifiable delays in the initial and most important stages of the investigations, a failure to secure the crime scene and the falsification of evidence. AI brought international attention to the issue with missions to Juarez and Mexico City, and by mobilizing its worldwide membership in letter-writing campaigns. In 2006, thousands of AIUSA activists in the U.S. helped ensure passage of a bipartisan congressional resolution that called on the U.S. and Mexico to stop the human rights scandal.

“I admire the efforts by human rights activists around the world and fellow artists like Salma Hayek, Eve Ensler, Jane Fonda, Sally Field, Gloria Steinem and journalist Diana Washington Valdez,” added Lopez. “I am deeply honored to join them to continue the work on this very important issue.”

Lopez continues her work with AIUSA to raise awareness about the femicide in Juarez by launching a bilingual Web site on February 14 in memory of all the murdered women. The site will be used to inspire activism and seek justice for those who have been abducted and murdered in Juarez and Chihuahua, Mexico for more than a decade.

The website will include AI reports, petitions, documentary footage, testimonials, online chats, contact information for non-governmental organizations in Juarez, and a flash animation depicting the severity of the problem. It will also feature public service announcements by Lopez and her Bordertown co-stars Antonio Banderas, Martin Sheen and Maya Zapata. Lopez and her husband, Marc Anthony, have produced a song, “Porque La Vida Es Asi,” (“Because Life is Like That”), inspired by and dedicated to the women of Juarez.

“Jennifer’s commitment to obtaining justice for the hundreds of women and girls who have been brutally murdered in Juarez and Chihuahua, Mexico, is evident,” said Bonnie Abaunza, director of the “Artists for Amnesty” program at AIUSA. “Not only has she produced Bordertown, but she has filmed a PSA and launched a bilingual Web site, both of which will reach hundreds of thousands of people. She is using her international celebrity status to raise awareness about the murders.”