The Tallahassee Unified Family Court (Florida) specialises in judicial cases involving minors. It is the only court in the United States that deals with matters relating to children and parents. The families are summoned to this court when accused of abuse, abandon or negligence in regard to the minors. The objective of this court according to the Law is to reunite families as quickly and safely as possible. The movie takes its inspiration from the words of James Baldwin: “If one really wants to know how justice is administered in a country, one goes to the unprotected and listens to their testimony”.
Antonio Méndez Esparza was born in Madrid. He obtained a Law Degree before moving to the United States to develop his film career, where he obtained an MFA from Columbia University. Currently, Antonio is a film professor at the University of Tallahassee, Florida.
His latest film, “Life & Nothing More” (2017), was filmed in Tallahassee, Florida, during the presidential elections of 2016. Filmed with a small team, the support of the Faculty of Cinematographic Arts, and with a cast of non-professional actors, the film was awarded with the John Cassavetes Award at the Film Independent Spirit Awards 2018. It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and has toured several top-notch international film festivals, including San Sebastian, Tokyo, Rome, Sao Paulo, Chicago, Morelia and Thessaloniki. The film was selected by Variety’s Peter Debruge as one of the 10 best films of the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival.
It was selected as the opening film in New York for the prestigious Film Comment Selects. For the development of the film, Antonio received a grant from Guggenheim and a grant from the Arts Council of Florida.
His first feature film, “Here And There”, (2012) explored similar themes to those of his second film: complicated family relationships, economic obstacles and love. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2012, won the Grand Prix de la Semaine de la Critique at Cannes and toured the world with invitations to more than sixty international film festivals. In addition, “Aquí y Allá” premiered theatrically in the United States, Canada, France, Holland, Italy and Spain, and aired on Arte (France) and HBO Latino (Latin America). The Sundance Institute (June Screenwriters Lab), Cinereach and the Annenberg Foundation supported the development of the film.
His previous short film, “Once and Again” (2009), was awarded Best Latin Director of the East Coast by the DGA, Best Short Film by L.A. Film Festival and selected as the Best Spanish Short Film for Spanish public television (TVE).
– 68 San Sebastian Film Festival 2020 – Official Selection in Competition (Spain)
– 33 Tokyo International Film Festival 2020 – World Focus (Japan)
– Latin Beat Film Festival 2020 – Official Selection (Japan)
– Black Nights Film Festival 2020 – Screen International Critics’ Choice (Estonia)
– AFI DOCS 2021 – Feature Films Selection (USA)
– Melbourne Documentary Film Festival 2021 – True Crime Section (Australia)
– Tallahassee Film Festival 2021 – Official Selection (USA)
– 44th Mill Valley Film Festival 2021 – Official Selection (USA)
– Double Exposure Film Festival 2021 – Official Selection (USA)