The Search

A grandmother’s quest to move past a terrible tragedy to a place of possibility.
Year Released
Film Length(s)
24 mins
Closed captioning available
Remote video URL


The Search is a 24-minute film that explores Estela de Carlotto’s 37-year search for her long-lost grandchild after her daughter was kidnapped and murdered during the Argentinean 1976-1983 dictatorship.

Featured review

Beautifully crafted and compassionate, The Search chronicles Estela de Carlotto's 37-year quest to find her grandson who was born in prison and given up for illegal adoption after the Argentine military executed his mother. Steadfast and determined, Carlotto helped establish the Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo (Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo) to locate and identify some 500 kidnapped children and to bring those responsible to justice. The Abuelas soon became a model for similar organizations around the world. This thought-provoking film will generate classroom discussion about what it means to work collectively for human rights and justice against all odds.
Eric Stover - Faculty Director of the Human Rights Center at the University of California


Estela de Carlotto has looked for her grandson for 37 years. Laura, her daughter, was abducted and taken to a secret detention center in 1977 during the Argentinean dictatorship. She was then tortured and killed. She was pregnant with a boy: Guido.

In 1979, Carlotto became a member and then President of the Association of Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, an organization that has worked relentlessly to find the 500 children that were either kidnapped or seized from women in detention during the military dictatorship. The documentary follows Carlotto’s long-life mission to help others find their lost family members as she searches for her own grandson.


The Search is an indispensable film for anyone interested in learning what happened in Argentina under the military dictatorship of the '70s and '80s and how common citizens had the stamina and resilience to overcome fear and confront the military. Alternating flashbacks of street protests and military repression with live interviews, the filmmaker interviews one of the most emblematic icons among Argentine human rights advocates, Estela Carlotto, the president of the organization Abuelas of Plaza de Mayo, whose pregnant daughter Laura was kidnapped and assassinated by the military shortly after giving birth, while his baby was handed over as war booty to people connected to the security forces. The film traces all the steps of Carlotto's 37-year-fight to find her grandson. This film is highly recommended for university courses and discussions about the struggle for human rights and democracy in Latin America. Not to be missed!
Victor Penchaszadeh - M.D. Professor of genetics and human rights
National University of Tres de Febrero Buenos Aires, Argentina

Awards and Screenings

Best Short Documentary - Amnesty International Film Festival - Au Cinéma pour les Droits Humains, 2018
Ruth Landfield Award - Fargo Film Festival , 2017
Best Student Documentary - Fargo Film Festival
Best Student Documentary at DOCUTAH Film Festival
SPJ NorCal - Excellence in Journalism - Student Special Project Award
Broadcast Education Association - Festival of Media Arts - Best Student Documentary
Susan Rasky Award for Journalistic Excellence, 2016
Edwin Bayley Prize for Excellence in Government or Political Reporting, 2016
Denver Film Festival - Honorable mention

Features and Languages

Film Features

  • Closed Captioning
  • Subtitles

Promotional Material

Promotional Stills

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