Winner of the top award for best film at the Sheffield DocFest, and a favorite at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival, Sansón and Me (Sansón y yo), the fifth feature from acclaimed Mexican-American director Rodrigo Reyes (499) will have its U.S. theatrical release starting Friday, March 3 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in New York City, to be followed by theaters across the country.
A documentary a decade in the making, Sansón and Me is set between Californian prisons and coastal Mexico, and continues Reyes’ boundary-pushing approach to documentary making and is a testament to his craftful use of cinemagraphic language to reclaim the humanity of those disregarded by society.
The project began when the filmmaker was working as a court interpreter in rural California for the then 19-year old undocumented Mexican migrant Sansón Noé Andrade, who was sentenced to two life sentences without parole in Pelican Bay State Prison. Through letters and visits, Andrade shared his story with Reyes. Unable to film inside the prison, the tale is told through dramatic reenactments by Sansón’s own family and newcomer Gerardo Reyes.
In vividly portraying Sansón’s life from orphaned Mexican child to American prisoner, Sansón and Me is an unflinching examination of one man’s attempt to reconcile the systemic forces that envelop so many young, incarcerated men of color in America.
A vibrant portrait of a friendship navigating immigration and the depths of the criminal justice system, Sansón and Me pushes the boundaries of cinematic imagination to rescue a young migrant’s story from oblivion, and makes the case for a justice system that works to transform people’s lives, rather than continue cycles of violence.