PRESUMED GUILTY Filmmakers Sued in Mexico


Roberto Hernández and Layda Negrete, directors of the controversial 2011 Mexican documentary film Presunto culpable / Presumed Guilty (pictured) face 19 lawsuits which has hindered the distribution of the film on DVD in the country. The film is an exposé of the Mexican judicial system and it follows the trial of Antonio Zúñiga who was wrongly accused of murdering a young man.

Among the plaintiffs are Victor Daniel Reyes, who appears as a witness in the film, and José Manuel Ortega Saavedra, a former police commander who arrested the film's protagonist. They claim in their lawsuits for defamation that they were recorded without their consent. As reported by different media, the legal case could take years during which time the film could not be distributed on DVD.

This past Wednesday, there was a hearing at a court in Mexico City for the presentation of evidence. Through their Twitter account (@PresuntoC), the filmmakers pointed out that one of the plaintiffs has not seen the film despite claiming that it distorts reality. During the course of the legal case, the filmmakers have also denounced incidents of harassment by local judiciary players.

Presumed Guilty was awarded with an Emmy for Outstanding Investigative Journalism and it also was awarded with the Best Documentary prize at the Morelia Film Festival.