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|Diversity Film 'Writ Writer'|
|Date||Thursday December 01|
|Time||7:00 PM - 8:30 PM|
|Import this event into your personal calendar.|
Ellen Driscoll Playhouse
325 Highand Ave.
Piedmont, CA 94611
|julie [at] diversityfilmseries.org|
Thur, Dec 1, Free reception 6:30-7pm, film showing 7-8pm, post film discussion 8-9pm
The 54-minute documentary film Writ Writer tells the littleknown but remarkable story of Fred Cruz, a young Latino with an eighth-grade education who, in 1960, is convicted of robbery and begins serving time in the Texas state prison system. Appalled at the often barbaric treatment he and his fellow inmates must endure, he becomes a "writ writer," a jailhouse lawyer. Filing his own legal challenges, Cruz uses his intellect and belief in the rule of law to help change a smothering penal system in which prisoners are denied basic constitutional rights. He becomes part of the vanguard of the prisoners' rights movement in Texas in the transformative decade of the 1960s.
Featuring marvelous production values, Writ Writer makes very effective use of archival footage to convey Fred Cruz's life and times. Interviewed are former prison wardens, ex-convicts, and Cruz's friends, as well as the family of Frances Jalet, the New York lawyer who comes to Texas to assist Cruz and his fellow writ writers. What especially personalizes the story, however, is that Fred Cruz's own words, drawn from his prison journals, correspondence, and legal documents, are carefully used to form the first-person narration.
Watching Writ Writer, viewers experience its seamless, methodical, gripping pace, which seems pitch perfect for the story it narrates-of human degradation, cunning and courage, triumph, and personal tragedy. The documentary should engage young people and adults alike. Writ Writer shows how one person can use the courage of his humanity and the resources of the law to make a difference.