September 30, 2016 – Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four, Director Deborah Esquenazi and Film Subject Anna Vasquez


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The award winning acclaimed SOUTHWEST OF SALEM: THE STORY OF THE SAN ANTONIO FOUR chronicles the nightmarish persecution of Elizabeth Ramirez, Cassandra Rivera, Kristie Mayhugh, and Anna Vasquez – four Latina lesbians wrongfully convicted of gang-raping two little girls in San Antonio, Texas over 20 years ago during the “Satanic Panic” of the 1980s-1990s. Despite flawed medical evidence and convictions based solely on the testimony of two young children, the women always maintained their innocence—and have waged an ongoing fight for exoneration.  Documentary filmmaker  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. Esquenazi 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. Director Deborah S. Esquenazi and film subject Anna Vasquez stop by to talk about the journey, heartbreak and triumph of a 22-year nightmare.

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September 30 Alamo Drafthouse Kalamazoo, MI

September 30 – October 5 Laemmle Music Hall Los Angeles, CA

October 1 Arc Cinema Canberra, AU

October 13 Frameline Encore Screening Roxie Theater San Francisco, CA

“Has your blood pressure been sufficiently raised by shows like “Making A Murderer” and movies like the “Paradise Lost” trilogy? Buckle up, because we’ve got another unbelievable true crime story story that will leave you equal parts fascinated and furious.”-  INDIEWIRE

“With intimate access to the subjects over a period of years, Esquenazi’s film builds into a horrifying indictment of justice gone awry, and one that left much of the audience in tears. Among those who broke down were the four subjects of the film, who have been released pending a new trial and who say they still cry every time they see the movie.” – Steve Pond, THE WRAP

“Its heart lies in the relationships between the women, who remained close and loyal to one another through it all, and the families and children they had to leave behind. “- Jen Yamato, THE DAILY BEAST

“Director Deborah S. Esquenazi brilliantly tells a toxic tale mix of discrimination, familial dysfunction, religious/political paranoia, and a system full of biases. Grade: A+” – Lee Romero, CORRIENTE LATINA

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