Tag Archives: Kimberly Bautista

Reimagining Justice

by Richard Stack

As the Justice Department prepares to resume federal executions after a 16-year moratorium, the death penalty debate intensifies. Despite popular opinion with approximately 50% of Americans against capital punishment and two more states (Washington and New Hampshire) abolishing it, five executions are scheduled for December and January.

New Day’s catalogue of criminal justice titles includes films that inspire viewers to reimagine justice, films that give historical context to the system in place, and many intimate stories of the lives impacted by a per-capita incarceration rate that far exceeds other developed nations. These can serve as powerful pedagogical tools for any organization trying to grapple with the issues of the criminal justice system. 

In the Executioner’s Shadow

In the Executioner’s Shadow intertwines three powerful stories depicting capital punishment’s destructive nature. Two narratives represent opposing positions on the death penalty. The third is the rarely revealed insights of a former executioner. The work of Maggie Stogner and Richard Stack is not a polemic. The storytelling takes viewers on personal journeys inspiring forgiveness and social healing.  

Circle Up

Circle Up is the powerful story of Boston mothers seeking justice for their sons’ murders, searching for healing, accountability, and community peace. The film examines reconciliation between a murderer and the survivors of his victim. Inspired by Native-American peacemaking circles, director Julie Mallozzi reframes crime and punishment through restorative justice, accountability, forgiveness.

Concrete, Steel & Paint explores interaction between offenders and victims, through partnership that broke barriers between them. Inmates and victims collaborate on a mural about healing, highlighting differences on punishment, remorse and forgiveness. Mistrust dissolves into personal connection. Collaboration challenges both sides to respect the other’s humanity. Cindy Burstein and Tony Heriza raise questions about reconciliation and illustrate art’s power to spark restorative justice. 

A Hard Straight depicts doing time on the outside. The film follows three inmates’ reentry into society. Departing incarceration is ecstatic. Then what? The joys, frustrations and risks of recidivism come into focus. Annually, 500,000 inmates are released, and ask:  What resources are required to survive? Goro Toshima spotlights challenges of serving a sentence and staying straight.

Girl Trouble

Girl Trouble is an intimate documentary in which Lexi Leban and Lidia Szajko, chronicle four years in the lives of three teenage girls struggling to break from San Francisco’s complex, flawed juvenile justice system, one that creates “throw-away children.”

Every Mother’s Son profiles three women from different backgrounds who unite to seek justice after their sons are killed by police. Three ordinary mothers become extraordinary activists.  Their stories are tragic, their courage heroic. Their sons’ narratives humanize consequences of police brutality. Kelly Anderson and Tami Gold transform victims into real people making it difficult to be indifferent to authorities’ excessive use of force. 

In Justice for My Sister, Kimberly Bautista examines violence against women in Guatemala, documenting one woman’s three-year struggle to hold her sister’s killer accountable. The film was the centerpiece of a transnational campaign promoting healthy relationships and denouncing gender-based violence.  

October: Commemorative Month

Sins Invalid: An Unshamed Claim to Beauty

October is National Disability Awareness Month, a time to learn about issues facing people with disabilities and celebrate their contributions. Kū Kanaka/Stand Tall, by Marlene Booth, follows a young disabled Native Hawaiian man, whose traumatic accident leads him to find healing through his indigenous language and history, and fight for his people. Tocando la Luz (Touch the Light , by Jennifer Redfearn, tells the story of three blind women in Havana, Cuba, who pursue their dreams while illuminating Cuba’s current economic and social landscape. Sins Invalid: An Unshamed Claim to Beauty documents a Bay Area performance project that highlights people of color and queer people with disabilities, creating work about disability, sexuality and social justice. See more films about disability here.

Justice For My Sister

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and New Day has a number of films that explore this often unseen undercurrent that exists in so many people’s lives. Power and Control: Domestic Violence in America, by Peter Cohn, follows a mother of three in Duluth, MN, as she struggles to protect herself and her children. (Peter Cohn has also made two companion films: Domestic Violence and Law Enforcement, and Domestic Violence and Health Care.) Men are Human, Women are Buffalo, by Joanne Hershfield, mixes interviews and puppetry to tell five stories about violence against women in Thailand, where it is reported that 44 percent of women have been abused by a partner or stranger. Justice for my Sister, by Kimberly Bautista, follows a Guatemalan woman through a three-year battle to hold her sister’s killer accountable, in one of the few cases of domestic violence murder in Guatemala that has resulted in a conviction.

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Justice for My Sister

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In hopes of helping victims through their pain and moving forward in the fight to eradicate domestic violence from our world, two New Day filmmakers are making their films available for free streaming the entire month. Kimberly Bautista‘s feature documentary Justice for My Sister is a feature-length documentary that follows one Guatemalan woman as she pits herself against her country’s notoriously machista justice system in search of answers to her sister’s brutal murder.

Peter Cohn‘s Power and Control: Domestic Violence in America is a powerful and dramatic exploration of family violence in the US. The feature documentary is accompanied by two shorter, more specialized companion pieces: Domestic Violence in Law Enforcement and Domestic Violence and Health Care.

I Am New Day: Kimberly Bautista

Kimberly-Bautista-headshot(1)I had been involved in solidarity work since 2003 to raise awareness about the violent murders of women in Juarez, Mexico, and that work connected me to feminists working in Guatemala. I began production on a documentary film, Justice for My Sister, which follows a Guatemalan single mother of five on a heroic journey to hold her sister’s killer accountable. When I myself became a target of sexual assault, and experienced first-hand the corruption and complicity of the Guatemalan justice system, I decided my film needed to do more than raise awareness – it needed to be part of a bigger violence prevention campaign. I formed the Justice for My Sister Collective with advocates in Guatemala and Los Angeles, and we’ve published a trainer’s training guide, a text-message campaign toolkit, and an activity booklet. We’ve held workshops and screenings with indigenous communities, immigrants, survivors of violence, service providers and police in 20 countries and counting. The film has won Best Documentary in Holland, Los Angeles, Bolivia, and Central America. I have toured universities and embassies to promote healthy relationships, and have since established a non-profit organization in LA to continue the campaign’s work.

For more information about Justice for My Sistervisit  http://www.justiceformysister.com/