Monday, July 25, 2011

Crime After Crime

A friend of mine who saw Crime After Crime at the SF International Film Festival reported that the audience gave it a standing ovation like he'd never seen for a movie. It documents the long legal struggle to free Debbie Peagler, a woman improperly sentenced to life in a California prison for the murder of her abusive boyfriend. 2 young lawyers, Nadia Costa & Joshua Safran, take on the case pro-bono, thinking it would take only a few months to free her. Instead the case extends for years, becomes an obsession for the lawyers, & their investigation uncovers possible illegalities by the prosecution. Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley was hissed whenever he appeared on screen. The film was shot over a period of more than 5 years as events unfolded & contains talking head interviews, photos & footage of the awesomely resilient Ms. Peagler in prison. Her final appearance before a parole board is just one of many wrenching, nearly unwatchable, moments.

SF Jewish Film FestivalThe film is emotionally rich, & many at this SF Jewish Film Festival screening cried. The director, Yoav Potash, was present, & when he & lawyers Ms. Costa & Mr. Safran came onstage for a Q & A, they received a standing ovation. Mr. Potash urged us to support the Habeas Project, which works to free women in similar circumstances as Ms. Peagler. Mr. Safran left us with the story that when he visited Ms. Peagler as she was dying, she told him that she would be very mad if he was sad at her passing. She meant for her life to be inspiring, & the movie honors that purpose.

The film will open in general release in the Bay Area on August 5th & will also play on the Orpah Network.

§ Crime After Crime
USA, 2011, 93 min
Yoav Potash, producer & director

San Francisco Jewish Film Festival
Castro Theatre
Sunday, Jul 24, 2011 6:00 PM

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