Rae de Leon, is a new staff reporter working at The Center for Investigative Reporting, when she discovers a surprising number of legal cases nationwide that involve women reporting sexual assault to the police, only to be accused of fabricating their allegations. These women are then charged with crimes, sometimes facing years in prison. This powerful and shocking documentary VICTIM / SUSPECT follows de Leon as she gathers firsthand accounts from numerous young women and their families and interviews police and legal experts. Simultaneously, de Leon re-examines elements of the initial police investigations, unearthing telling recordings of police interviews of women reporting their sexual assault. In her latest documentary feature, VICTIM / SUSPECT Director Nancy Schwartzman (Roll Red Roll) crafts a deeply compelling and provocative investigative documentary, sure to elicit both empathy and outrage, that stands as a powerful testament to the carefully constructed work of determined reporters like de Leon. Director / Producer Nancy Schwartzman joins us for a conversation on the multi-faceted way that VICTIM / SUSPECT illuminates how local and nationwide systemic policing policies both motivate detectives to treat victims like suspects, and directly impact not only these vulnerable women’s cases, but also their lives.
About the filmmaker – Nancy Schwartzman is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and author based in Los Angeles. Her debut feature, Roll Red Roll (POV/Netflix 2019), was nominated for a Peabody Award and exposed the notorious Steubenville, Ohio, teen sexual assault case. She is the creator and director of a nonfiction project in production with XTR for Freeform/Disney.
“A strong, powerful documentary that, despite feeling a tad neat and cold at times, benefits from De Leon’s presence. And most importantly: it is a film that will remain engraved in your memories for a long time. “ – Sebastian Zavala Kahn, Cinencuentro
“It’s all so very sober, so deeply sobering, that when actual emotion pops, that’s what jars. It shouldn’t be the case — all of this should rattle us and move us into action.” – Kate Erbland, indieWire