He previously produced The Reckoning: The Battle for the International Criminal Court (world premiere Sundance 2009), accompanied by IJCentral, an interactive audience engagement initiative promoting global rule of law, developed at the BAVC Producer’s Institute 2008. Prior to that, he produced State of Fear, a Skylight Pictures film about Peru’s 20-year “war on terror” based on the findings of the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Paco is a partner at Skylight Pictures, and previously produced documentaries for PBS ("On Our Own Terms” with Bill Moyers), National Geographic ("Secrets from the Grave"), and a range of other programs. Before producing television documentaries, he created music festivals in South America & the Caribbean, renovated and operated an arts/performance theater in Miami Beach, (The Cameo Theater) and owned and operated a Spanish-style tapas tavern in a 500-year old colonial house in Cartagena, Colombia.
Films by Paco de Onis
500 YEARS tells the epic story that led Guatemala to a tipping point in their history from the genocide trial of former dictator General Rios Montt to the popular movement that toppled sitting President Otto Perez Molina. Focusing on universal themes of justice, racism, power and corruption, 500 YEARS tells the story from the perspective of the majority indigenous Mayan population, and their struggles in their country’s growing fight against impunity.
This is the third chapter of the trilogy of documentaries on Guatemala, led by Pamela Yates, and follows the films When the Mountains Tremble (1983) and Granito: How to Nail a Dictator (2011). The documentary film had its world premiere at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.
Pamela Yates’ documentary REBEL CITIZEN takes you on a revelatory tour of two time Oscar winning cinematographer Haskell Wexler’s political documentary work, letting the veteran artist and activist share his vision of how to be a citizen in the world. Created for the Cinéma du Réel festival in Paris, the film was selected for the New York Film Festival in a surprise development and had its world premiere October 6th 2015.
MOTHER TONGUE chronicles the first time a documentary film about Guatemalan genocide was translated and dubbed into the indigenous language Maya-Ixil. Told from the perspective of Matilde Terraza, an emerging Ixil leader and the translation project’s coordinator, MOTHER TONGUE illuminates the resilience of the Ixil community—5.5% of whom were killed during the armed conflict in the 1980s.
A band of Latin American activist economists sets out to change their region, partnering with women marginalized by poverty to challenge accepted notions on how to eradicate inequality. Through this program, the women become empowered economic and political agents in their communities. If the model is taken to scale, could 20 million women upend a continent?
Skylight's newest release, Dictator in the Dock is a 23-episode short film series (5 to 7 minutes per episode) that includes exclusive access to an online educational hub.
In 1989, Skylight Pictures began to document poor Americans fighting to end poverty. They made three films about it. Three activists who were there now look back at condensed versions of those films and share the lessons they learned.
One man's journey of conscience from Vietnam to El Salvador, Witness to War is the Academy Award winning story of Dr. Charlie Clements who was a pilot in Vietnam until he refused further combat missions. Stripped of his military identity, Charlie Clements dedicated his life to non-violence and healing, ultimately tending to the wounded behind rebel lines in El Salvador. A personal testament to the enduring tragedy of war as relevant in our times as it was then, this new edition includes a soul-searching return to El Salvador with Dr. Clements.
How can an open society balance demands for security with democracy? Based on the findings of the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission, State of Fear follows events in Peru, yet serves as a cautionary tale for a nation like the United States. Filmmakers Pamela Yates, Peter Kinoy, and Paco de Onis masterfully blend personal testimony, history and archival footage to tell the story of escalating violence in the Andean nation and how the fear of terror undermined their democracy, making Peru a virtual dictatorship where official corruption replaced the rule of law. Terrorist attacks by Shining Path insurgents provoked a military occupation of the countryside. Military justice replaced civil authority, widespread abuses by the Peruvian Army went unpunished, and the terrorism continued to spread. Nearly 70,000 civilians eventually died at the hands of Shining Path and the Peruvian military.
A David and Goliath battle of titanic proportions unfolds as International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo faces down warlords, genocidal dictators and world superpowers in his struggle to tame the Wild West of global conflict zones and bring perpetrators of crimes against humanity to justice.
In a startling loop of time and memory, "Granito" shows how a filmmaker's first documentary has been instrumental to indict Guatemalan ex-dictator Ríos Montt on genocide charges.