Monday, July 18, 2016
SOUTHWEST OF SALEM: THE STORY OF THE SAN ANTONIO FOUR Gets Worldwide Distribution
You may remember a few months ago when SOUTHWEST OF SALEM: THE STORY OF THE SAN ANTONIO FOUR made my list of most anticipated films at this year's Tribeca Film Festival. Long story short, with the countless other screenings and events happening, I never got a chance to watch it at the festival--which is why I'm psyched to hear that it's been picked up for distribution by Investigation Discovery and FilmRise.
The documentary chronicles the case of the San Antonio Four, four Latina women who were wrongfully accused, convicted, and incarcerated for gang raping two girls in Texas back in 1994. A highly politicized case, largely due to how conservative Texas is and the fact that all four women are lesbians of color, the San Antonio Four continue to fight for justice in the face of adversity. The film reportedly follows their journey, more than 20 years after they were first sentenced, and the enraging sequence of events leading up to and following it. More below from the press release:
SOUTHWEST OF SALEM begins its journey inside a Texas prison, over a decade after Ramirez, Rivera, Mayhugh and Vasquez were put behind bars. Documentarian Deborah S. Esquenazi weaves together emotional interviews with the women (labeled the San Antonio Four) and their families with actual news footage and home videos, equally showcasing the injustice of the situation and the families that were torn apart as a result. Unique to the San Antonio Four case, none of the four women ever took a plea bargain or even considered it, despite serving their time in separate prisons. While the state offered deferred adjudication, requiring no time in prison but probation for ten years, the women turned down the offer, maintaining their innocence and faith in truth and justice. Deborah S. Esquenazi also follows the work of attorneys from the Innocence Project of Texas, who played a pivotal role in securing an on-camera recantation by one of the victims, now 25 years old—and their ultimate release from prison in 2013. Today, the San Antonio Four continue their fight for exoneration in tandem with the Innocence Project, and their case is currently up for review with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. A hearing date has not yet been set.
I'm keeping an eye on this so I don't miss it again. SOUTHWEST OF SALEM: THE STORY OF THE SAN ANTONIO FOUR is slated to begin its release schedule in the U.S. September 14.