Southwest of Salem: The Story of The San Antonio Four
Directed by Deborah S. Esquenazi
HBO’s THE JINX, Netflix’s MAKING A MURDERER, the podcast SERIAL, the PARADISE LOST films, and now SOUTHWEST OF SALEM, director Debroah S. Esquenazi’s riveting expose of a real-life miscarriage of justice that forever changed the life of four young Latina lesbians. The four young women – Elizabeth Ramirez, Cassandra Rivera, Kristie Mayhugh, and Anna Vasquez – were convicted in the 1990s gang rape of Elizabeth’s two young nieces after being accused of satanic ritual abuse. Despite faulty medical science and questionable testimony from the nieces used to back up these incredulous charges, not to mention an inexperienced defense team pitted against a homophobic legal system, three of the women were sentenced to 15 years apiece while Elizabeth was given a 37-year sentence. As Esquenazi’s camera testifies, the women have never lost hope as they have fought to clear their names – through all the twists and turns that have occurred in the ensuing years. An award-winning hit with festival juries and an audience favorite, this engrossing film is truly unforgettable.