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‘The Sentence’

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After his sister receives an excessively harsh sentence and is ripped apart from her children, Rudy Valdez decided to capture the ordeal in a profoundly moving film documenting how the justice system failed a Mexican-American family. 2018

Rudy Valdez, director: When I started this film, I have to be honest; I was stuck in the thinking that people from nonwhite backgrounds needed “saving.” I probably thought this way because it was all I had seen in movies and in documentaries growing up.  What began as a personal story about my family grew to become much bigger. The critical need for it became clear and I made the exact thing I needed to see when I was a kid. So often other-ized communities like mine are demonized. I wanted to humanize us. People who look like me can be heroes in our own stories, the authors of our own narratives. We are a part of the fabric of this country. People who look like me can be emblematic of what it means to be American.