This superbly constructed documentary follows an emotional roller coaster as ‘pro bono’ lawyers Joshua Safran and Nadia Costa endeavour to find justice for the plaintiff Deborah Peagler, imprisoned for over a quarter of a century. In 1983 Peagler, a woman brutally abused by her boyfriend, was sentenced to a minimum of ‘25 years to life’ for her connection to his murder. When a new penal code was introduced in California 20 years later, it finally looked possible to review Peagler’s case and so began a six-year legal battle.
The shocking statistic, at the core of Potash’s gripping documentary is that 80% of women in prisons in the US are survivors of some form of rape, abuse or domestic violence. Safran, Costa and Peagler make an unusual trio, but their combined strengths are a unique blend of emotional intelligence and integrity that makes for compelling viewing which overshadows many traditional fictional crime dramas. Judy Ironside
Official Selection: Sundance Film Festival 2011
Audience Choice Award and Golden Gate Award (Investigative Documentary Feature): San Francisco International Film Festival 2011