An icon 90 years in the making

Project type: Nonfiction Feature
Project status: Post-Production
Director: Jayson McNamara, Andrea Tortonese
Producer: Sarah Schoellkopf
Instagram: @noritafilm

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How a mother’s search for her son led to the defeat of a dictatorship and inspired a new generation of women to fight for their freedoms.


Norita follows 90 year old Nora Cortiñas in the present day as she takes up the fight for women’s reproductive rights in Argentina. Intercut with her campaign is the story of her journey from joining the iconic ‘Mothers of Plaza de Mayo’ movement in 1977 to becoming a symbol of protest and democracy in Latin America today. Illustrated with stunning B&W photography and chilling archival footage from the time, Nora recollects the search for her kidnapped son and her battle with the Argentine dictatorship. In Nora’s pursuit of justice she meets Ana – a younger woman who, like Nora’s son, was ‘disappeared’ by the military. The two become surrogate family members for each other as they seek to uncover the dark truth about the fate of their missing loved ones.

Featuring entirely women participants, the film is a sweeping intergenerational story about the bonds of motherhood and the strength found in joining forces young and old. It provides a surprising and deeply moving defense of women’s right to reproductive freedoms, while the backdrop of Argentina’s dictatorship reminds Western audiences about the fragility of our own democratic rights and systems. Through the resilience of Nora and the women around her, we see that rebellion and protest are not only a human reaction to adversity but often a necessary one. We need Nora’s story today more than ever.

The team behind the film have created feature films screened with Netflix and at festivals such as Tribeca and SXSW. The film is currently in post-production, supported so far by organizations such as Ni Una Menos (the Argentine equivalent of Times Up) and the California-based Schoellkopf Family Foundation.

Meet the Filmmakers

Jayson McNamara — Director
Jayson McNamara is a journalist and filmmaker working between Australia and Latin America, whose feature and short film work has screened at the festivals Full Frame, BAFICI and LASA, as well as on French and Argentine television networks. Since his debut film Messenger on a White Horse screened on Nat Geo Mundo in 2018, he has been documenting the life of 90-year-old Argentine activist Nora Cortiñas. The two share a unique friendship that has developed from their initial encounters at local demonstrations, which Jayson covered as a reporter at the Buenos Aires Herald.

Andrea Tortonese — Director
Born in Buenos Aires, Andrea studied Fine Arts and Cinematographic Arts before working in animation departments in film and advertising. In 2009, she turned her focus on illustration — publishing her work in magazines and creating the art for record covers and graphical campaigns, including for the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo. She continued working in animation collaborating with Patricio Escobar for the documentaries Qué Democracia and Bienaventurados los mansos.

Sarah Schoellkopf — Producer
Sarah is a producer and an academic whose research focuses on human rights and gender. Her doctorate investigated the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo and included field research with the group in the 1990s. Through DoctoraStories, Sarah produced the 2021 documentary Ferguson Rising which premiered at Tribeca. She is a champion of Spanish language education in California, and is the president of the Eileen & Fred Schoellkopf Foundation.

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