Award-winning documentary “Sansón and Me” comes to PBS's Independent Lens
It is a production of the Mexican-American filmmaker Rodrigo Reyes.
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The celebrated documentary “Sansón And Me,” which traces the stages of a young immigrant's journey from an orphaned Mexican boy to an American prisoner, will open the new season of the Emmy-winning PBS “Independent Lens” on Tuesday, Sep. 19.
Brilliantly directed by Mexican-American filmmaker Rodrigo Reyes, the piece vividly portrays the life of Sansón Noe Andrade, a young immigrant from the Mexican coast, while highlighting the systemic forces and personal choices surrounding incarcerated youth of color in the United States.
Reyes underscored through a press release:
Over the course of a decade, I had the opportunity to learn of Sansón’s story and the pivotal, unfair moments that led him to life in prison. I hope with the film’s broadcast debut, audiences recognize these realities for those who have been left behind and even see themselves in my friend.
About the Story
Using dramatic re-enactments to portray the story of Andrade, who is currently serving a life sentence in a California prison for his role in a murder that took place when he was 19, the documentary highlights the systemic failures that plague the immigrant experience in the U.S. with devastating consequences.
Reyes served as Andrade's interpreter during his trial in 2012, an event that marked the director and prompted him to bring this man's story to the screens.
After exchanging letters with Andrade and visiting him at Pelican Bay State Prison, Reyes began to put the documentary together.
“For years I’ve dreamed of telling the story of an immigrant whose life had previously been overlooked and unknown,” highlighted Reyes.
Given that the use of cameras was prohibited during prison interviews, Reyes appealed to members of Andrade's family who still lived in the coastal city of Tecomán, Mexico, to play key roles in his narrative.
Reyes also traced the growth of the friendship he and Andrade formed throughout the making of the film and the deep personal reflections they often shared with each other.
Last year, “Sansón and Me” won the Best Film Award at the Sheffield DocFest 2022.
“We’re thrilled to partner with VOCES to open our season with ‘Sansón and Me,’ which showcases Rodrigo’s innovative and critically-acclaimed documentary filmmaking,” said Lois Vossen, executive producer of Independent Lens.
Reyes uses cinematic poetry to capture the harsh realities of immigration, the U.S. prison system, and one man's journey toward redemption.
At age 12, Sansón moves from Mexico to California, eventually finding a job and falling in love while avoiding the gang activity that surrounds him, only to go to prison seven years later, where he is once again surrounded by gang activity inside.
“Sansón and Me” is a joint presentation of Independent Lens and Voces of Latino Public Broadcasting.
“The film traces the poignant story of an incarcerated immigrant, the chilling patterns young men of color face trying to pursue a better future in America, and reveals an intimate understanding of systemic issues and the hope for individual redemption,” ended Vossen.