The Art of Political Murder
The Art of Political Murder

HBO released the trailer for the documentary The Art of Political Murder, described as a real-life political thriller about the investigation into the murder of Guatemalan Bishop Juan Gerardi.

The Art of Political Murder, debuting Wednesday, December 16 (9:00-10:30 p.m. ET/PT), based on Francisco Goldman’s award-winning book of the same name and executive produced by Oscar winners George Clooney and Grant Heslov, tells the story of the 1998 murder of Guatemalan human rights activist Bishop Juan Gerardi, which stunned a country ravaged by decades of political violence, and the fight for justice that ensued.

“Bishop Juan Gerardi tried to expose crimes and corruption in Guatemala and paid for it with his life,” says executive producer George Clooney. “Grant and I are proud to help show his courage to the rest of the world.”

The Art of Political Murder chronicles the investigation into Bishop Gerardi’s murder, highlighting the team of young investigators who take on the case and begin to unearth deception, misconduct and corruption that reach the highest levels of government.

Just two days after publishing a damning report blaming the atrocities of the civil war on the Guatemalan military, Bishop Gerardi is found bludgeoned to death in the parish house garage of the Church of San Sebastián in Guatemala. Fearing a cover-up, the young investigators who co-wrote the report with Gerardi, defy dangerous intimidations to expose a web of conspiracy and murder that entangles the upper echelons of the government. Directed by Paul Taylor (“We Are Together”) and produced by Rise Films’ Teddy Leifer, the documentary is filled with startling twists and surprises, exposing the violence and corruption of post-war Guatemala’s fragile democracy through a case that would become a symbol of the country’s struggle for accountability and justice.

The film interweaves archival footage and photos with present-day interviews of those involved in exposing the truth of Gerardi’s murder, many of whom speak to his ongoing legacy, including: Ronalth Ochaeta, director of the Catholic Church’s Human Rights Office (ODHA); Edgar Gutiérrez, director of the Recovery of Historical Memory Project (REMHI), who worked closely with Gerardi; Francisco Goldman, author of “The Art of Political Murder”; human rights activist Helen Mack; journalist Claudia Méndez Arriaza; former ODHA human rights investigators Rodrigo Salvadó, Arturo Aguilar and Fernando Penados; former Guatemalan Public Ministry special prosecutors Otto Ardón and Leopoldo Zeissig; private investigator and attorney Jack Palladino; Mynor Melgar, former head of the ODHA legal team; and eyewitness Rubén Chanax, whose bombshell testimony at trial changed the course of the case.

The Art of Political Murder is part of a collection of five enthralling crime-focused documentary films that premiere on Wednesdays, beginning November 18. Each title goes beyond the sensational headlines to explore the human toll on all sides of a crime and delves deep into the internal and external worlds of perpetrators, victims, and survivors. The anthology includes Academy Award(R) winner Alex Gibney’s profile of a pioneering forensic psychiatrist who has studied some of the most notorious serial killers in “Crazy, Not Insane” (Nov. 18); an unsolved airplane hijacking in “The Mystery of DB Cooper” (Nov. 25); a shocking examination into Las Vegas fertility specialist, Dr. Quincy Fortier in “Baby God” (Dec. 2); and the haunting tale of an attempted murder by a religious snake handler in “Alabama Snake” (Dec. 9).

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