Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four


Southwest of Salem

After wrongful convictions of gang-raping two children, four Latina lesbians fight against mythology, homophobia, and prosecutorial fervor in their struggle for exoneration in this ‘true crime’ story.

Using the women’s home video footage from over 20 years ago and recent interviews, filmmaker Deborah Esquenazi’s takes the role of investigative filmmaker along with attorneys from the Innocence Project. Together, they are just beginning their quest for truth.


“This in the next ‘Making of a Murderer’ and it’s even more chilling.” – Refinery29


Deborah Esquenazi - Southwest of Salem

Deborah Esquenazi, Director

Deborah S. Esquenazi is an Austin-based film director, writer, and investigative journalist. She is the director of the critically acclaimed documentary Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four. The film has garnered a number of accolades in 2017 including the Critic’s Choice Award for Best First Feature, an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Social Documentary, a 2017 Peabody Award, and a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Documentary. The film helped exonerate the ‘San Antonio Four’ and is cited in the opening passages of the Writs of Habeas Corpus in Ex Parte Anna Vasquez, Cassandra Rivera, Elizabeth Ramirez, and Kristie Mayhugh. Esquenazi is also a Rockwood JustFilms/Ford Foundation Fellow, a Sundance Documentary Film Fellow, a Sundance Creative Producing Fellow, and a Firelight Film Fellow.

Anna Vasquez - Southwest of SalemAnna Vasquez, Subject

Anna Vasquez was exonerated in late 2016. The fight for freedom lasted a long 22 years for herself and that of her three friends; Cassandra Rivera, Kristie Mayhugh, and Elizabeth Ramirez, also known as the ‘San Antonio Four.’ The Court of Criminal Appeals ultimately found them to be innocent. Anna has become a true freedom fighter for others. She is currently working for the Innocence Project of Texas as their Outreach and Education Director. Some of her many duties are to organize the Texas exonerated community, participate in selected case review, assist in major donor fundraising, and provide legislative support.


Tuesday October 10, 2017 University Center Theater, Western Carolina University Cullowhee, NC 7:00 PM ET
Wednesday October 18, 2017 Williams Hall Auditorium, Oxford College of Emory University Oxford, GA 7:30 PM ET
Thursday October 19, 2017 Neville Hall, Presbyterian College Clinton, SC 7:00 PM ET
Sunday October 22, 2017 Winder Cultural Arts Center Winder, GA 7:30 PM ET
Monday October 23, 2017 Martha Street Culp Auditorium, East Tennessee State University Johnson City, TN 7:00 PM ET
Wednesday October 25, 2017 Harold and Jean Lambert Recital Hall, Clayton Center for the Arts Maryville, TN 7:00 PM ET
Thursday October 26, 2017 Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University Auburn, AL 6:00 PM CT