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The Land of Orange Groves & Jails

  • Judy Branfman, Director/Producer

About the Project

Free speech history unfolds in The Land of Orange Groves & Jails when the director's reluctant aunt Yetta finally tells her tale of teenage activism amidst the free speech and labor battles of 1920s Los Angeles. Her arrest for flying a red flag over a summer camp resulted in the US Supreme Court's first victory for free speech - laying important groundwork for our right to protest and dissent. This is a "David and Goliath" story of young people from immigrant families who inadvertently tested the limits of Constitutional protection and helped guarantee one of America's most treasured freedoms. But past mixes with present as the filmmaking unfolds: the director uncovers her family's radical history and has to confront a multi-generational legacy of secrecy and fear. The film uses booming 1920s Los Angeles as a lens onto a piece of our nation's history that seems especially relevant today.