Youth for a Life Free of Violence Campaign

The Project:

Occularis Films is committed to the belief that art can promote positive social and cultural change in society by creating symbols that reinforce individual and collective rights. Art is a diverse form of expression for many people and especially for youth.

The latest project from Occularis Films, El Regreso de Lencho, is a response to these social issues that seeks to convene artistic and social activities and promote inclusion of youth in society; but as citizens with dignity and respect, whose opinions matter for the very construction of democracy in our society.

Occularis Films believes that youth are not the future of society, but rather its present. El Regreso de Lencho proposes murals and graffiti as urban art forms accessible to the majority of the population. It seeks to create a legitimate art form representing the aspirations of youth and, in so doing, reclaim the streets and contest the visual saturation from advertising.

Film is a medium of expression that allow us to tell our stories from our own perspective with images and sound that are also our own. In this way, film seeks to recover collective memory; to bring our history into the present. Film is a composition of visual and oral documents that can support a social group and create identity or identities through reflection, dialogue and social debate. We needs images to portray our people and cultures, and counter the overwhelming saturation of Hollywood films. This will help youth develop their own identity and means to communicate to other social sectors.

This feature film by Mario Rosales exposes the violence to which youth is subjected and how it can create a constructive response to this violence through artistic expression. Together El Regreso de Lencho and the campaign Youth for a Life Free of Violence will contribute to a change in public opinion through discussions, reflections, and community dialogue that can open the possibility for a new public attitude toward youth as well as new policies to improve their life possibilities. Additionally, this project will demonstrate the power of Guatemalan Cinema to document reality.

In El Regreso de Lencho, Lencho, a 30-year-old artist and graffiti artist who returns to Guatemala after living for a decade in New York. Eager to bring artistic expression to his home country silenced by over 30 years of civil war, Lencho assembles a collective of artists to produce public art projects with social impact. As their first activity, the group organizes a mural, hip hop, poetry and graffiti art festival in Rabinal, a small indigenous town in the Guatemalan highlands. The group’s work draws the interest of the chief of a secret “social cleansing” squad of the national police designed to quash dissension and organizing among the youth. As Lencho labors to coordinate the components of the festival, he finds himself increasingly haunted by memories of the death of his father, a journalist killed during the army dictatorship that lasted from the 1960’s-1980’s.

El Regreso de Lencho breaks new ground in Latin American cinema. Following the phenomenal success achieved in the United States by films like Y tu mama también, Amores Perros, and Ciudad de Dios, among others, El Regreso de Lencho has shown to have the potential to draw large crowds in the art house cinema market in the United States that brought fame to these landmark films. As evidenced by sold out screenings and audience responses to El Regreso de Lencho in the US, Guatemala and Spain, Lencho will successfully reach the art house market, but also make a significant expansion into the largely untapped market of immigrant Latino residents in the US who are consumers of popular culture.

Today, the media plays a decisive role in this type of repression. Public opinion is manipulated by blaming inner city youth for the very violence to which they are subjected. Through the use of images, articles, and broadcast media, they have constructed a social discourse that stigmatizes youth as the generating source of violence. Thus, this justifies the assassinations and other acts of repression against youth.

The project has a significant following awaiting the release of the film and has screened clips of the film in New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Houston and Los Angeles which are among the key cities targeted for release in the USA.


General Objectives of the Film and Youth for a Life Free of Violence Project:
  • Contribute to the development of a new public opinion that decriminalizes youth and promotes a life free of violence, supports freedom of expression for youth in society.
  • Specific Objectives of Youth for A Life Free of Violence Project:
  • Promote art among youth as a life option
  • Contribute to a change in the social imaginary
  • Promote filming as a tool to document failed social legislatures, such as “Stop and Frisk”.


  • Create murals in public spaces across mayor American Cities.
  • Mural and Graffiti Art Workshops with artists such as Animal Planet Collective…
  • Hold public forums in human rights and Latino organizations which will include community dialogue about contemporary violence and the rights of youth to cultural expression following the screening of the film.
  • Workshops on the rights of youth and artistic expression with a focus on multiculturalism and gender.
  • Dissemination about the campaign Youth for a Life Free of Violence through electronic media and social networks.
  • Printing and Dissemination of campaign materials.

Expected Results:

  • Youth participation
  • Increased societal understanding of youth culture
  • Increased societal understanding of youth culture