Presumed Guilty, which earned an IDA/Humanitas Award for directors Roberto Hernandez and Geoffrey Smith and producer Layda Negrette, was pulled from theaters in Mexico by a federal judge. The film,which tells the story of two young lawyers and their struggle to free an innocent man accused of murder, aired on PBS' POV series and is distributed in the US by Icarus Films. Presumed Guilty had broken the box office record for highest grossing Mexican documentary, according to Variety. But according to an article in SFGate.com, the judge temporarily suspended all screenings because a key prosecution witness that appears in the film-a cousin of the victim--had filed a lawsuit claiming a violation of his right to privacy.
The response to the ruling has been swift, according to the article. Both the Mayor of Mexico City and the Interior Secretary for Media have indicated that they'll appeal the ruling, and the exhibitor Cinepolis said it "will continue to show the movie until we receive a formal judicial or administrative order to stop showing it." In addition, Carlos Ibarra, the publicist for the film, said that Hernandez, Smith and Negrette did not seek permission or get release forms from witnesses because "they didn't need to. Trials are public processes, and they can be filmed."
A hearing on the complaint is scheduled for March 11.
For an New York Times article on the film's protagonist, Toño Zuñiga, click here.