Defender – World Premiere Screening – 3:00pm – Free!! Ticket needed.
World Premiere/Free Screening
San Francisco International Film Festival
, Castro Theater, April 15 3 p.m.
tells the story of San Francisco Defender Public Defender Jeff Adachi, who takes on the case of 22-year-old Michael Smith, an African American man who pleaded not guilty in one of the first body camera cases in San Francisco when he was charged with battery on police officers and resisting arrest. The film also profiles the Public Defender‘s fight to provide legal representation for detained immigrants facing deportation in the current political era.
Defender: Watch the trailer
This insightful documentary focuses on San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi as he and his team take on the high-profile case of 22-year-old Michael Smith, who pleads not guilty after he is charged with nine counts of resisting arrest. Pulled off a BART train along with his girlfriend, Smith is wrestled to the ground, the arrest captured on the attending officers’ body cameras. Adachi employs the images from the cameras to advance the case that Smith’s arrest and the rough treatment he received on the BART platform were racially motivated. Moreover, he avers in the documentary, his client’s odyssey in the criminal justice system was evidence of black-crime bias in ostensibly liberal SF. But more than just an exposé of racism, Defender also shines a light on Adachi and his long career. Shown on the job—getting Smith to the courtroom, consulting with colleagues on the case, and discussing strategy and outcomes—and in private, early morning moments at the gym where he can’t quite get away from work, running into an old client as he works out, Adachi is low-key and affable. But percolating beneath that placid surface is a lifelong passion for social justice, ignited when he was a small boy learning that his family was among those interned during World War II and finding its purpose in his long service with the public defender’s office. This is a free community screening and shows with
The Boombox Collection: Zion I (Mohammad Gorjestani, USA 2016, 10 min), a portrait of Stephen Gaines aka Zumbi, the frontman of Oakland hip-hop duo Zion I. —Pam Grady
Premiere status: World
Running time: 70
Director(s): Jeff Adachi, Jim Choi
Producer(s): Jeff Adachi
Cinematographer(s): Jim Choi
Editor(s): Chihiro Wimbush
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