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Who Is Dayani Cristal?

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Atrocity Suffering and Human Rights Research Group Film Screening and Q&A

  • Friday 14 November 2014
  • #WhoIsDayaniCristal
  • Q&A with: Marc Silver, Dr Javier Trevino-Rangel
  • Chair: Dr Claire Moon

a woman, presumably a scientist, takes a picture of a skull 

Who Is Dayani Cristal? tells the story of a migrant who found himself in the deadly stretch of desert known as “the corridor of death” and shows how one life becomes testimony to the tragic results of the U.S. war on immigration. As the real-life drama unfolds we see this John Doe, denied an identity at his point of death, become a living and breathing human being with an important life story about love and the risks one takes for one’s family.

Gael Garcia Bernal retraces the dead man’s steps along the migrant trail through Central America and Mexico. In an effort to understand what it must have felt like to make this final journey, he embeds himself among migrant travelers on their own mission to cross the border. He experiences first-hand the dangers they face and learns of their motivations, hopes and fears as they travel north — giving us a rare insight into the human stories which are so often ignored in the immigration debate.

The screening of the film will be followed by a Q&A with Marc Silver and Dr Javier Trevino-Rangel, chaired by Dr Claire Moon.


Marc Silver works worldwide as a filmmaker, director of photography and social impact strategist. His first feature length film Who is Dayani Cristal? premiered at the Sundance Festival 2013 where it won Cinematography Award: World Cinema Documentary.

Marc’s rich portfolio includes documentaries, concert visuals, art installations and branding. He has created content for the BBC, Channel 4, Universal Music, The Guardian, The New York Times, Amnesty International, UNHCR, UNICEF, NMAP and The Global Fund and collaborated with artists such as Gael Garcia Bernal, Nitin Sawhney, Michael Nyman, Jamie Cullum, Ben Okri, Matthew Herbert and Cirque Du Soleil.

Marc is currently developing two new documentaries. The first is about the shooting of Jordan Davis and self defense laws in the US. The second is about psychedelics, neuroscience and drug policy.

Dr Javier Trevino-Rangel is Visiting Lecturer at the Center for Economic Teaching and Research (CIDE) in Mexico. He holds a PhD in Sociology from LSE. Javier is a published expert in the areas of transitional justice, racism, human rights abuses, and migrants in transit in Mexico. Javier has served as a consultant on migrant rights for the Ford Foundation’s Mexico City Office. He was also a consultant to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Mexico. His current research interests include transitional justice, gross human rights violations, undocumented international migration within Mexico, and the sociology of denial (responses to atrocity).

Dr Claire Moon (chair) is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Senior Research Associate in the Centre for the Study of Human Rights. She convenes the Atrocity, Suffering and Human Rights research group.

Further resources

Gael Garcia Bernal in Who is Dayani Cristal?