Philly D.A. Episode 1

April 11, 2021
6:00pm Central Time
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Thank you for joining us for our third Indie Lens Pop-Up Virtual Screening featuring Independent Lens's Philly D.A. Episode 1.

Video Descriptions

PHILLYDA ILPOPUP Onscreen StartingSoon

Ya'Ke Smith Introduction

Film Director and San Antonio native Ya'Ke Smith introduces his short film "Edwin."


Edwin Debrow Jr. murdered a cab driver when he was 12. He was sentenced to forty-years.

45 Days in a Texas Jail | Independent Lens | PBS

In Hays County, Texas, arrests for low-level offenses like marijuana possession lead to overcrowded jails and damaged lives. The county’s “cite and release” program, which gives officers the option to issue a citation instead of making an arrest, is meant to reduce the number of arrests for minor crimes, but local police officers rarely issue these citations. In 45 Days in a Texas Jail, criminal justice reformer Faylita Hicks recalls her time in jail for a bounced check and explores how similar arrests have impacted the fast-growing central Texas community. This piece was originally published on Texas Observor Directed by Julianna Brannum Producers Julianna Brannum Jeffrey Brown Cinematography Brian Ford Editors Brian Ford Shannon Stefan Music Garth Stevenson Executive Producers Lois Vossen Sally Jo Fifer Senior Vice President of Content Jim Sommers Senior Producer Stephen Talbot Associate Producer Susan Cohen Learn more about "Independent Lens": Like us on Facebook: Follow us on Twitter: Follow us on Instagram:

Filmmaker Introduction

LaTonya Myers introduces Philly D.A. episode1.

Philly D.A. Episode 1

Doc series goes behind the scenes of the election and tumultuous first term of Larry Krasner, Philadelphia's unapologetic District Attorney.


91min 59sec


  • Rigoberto Luna

    Rigoberto Luna is co-owner, and director of Presa House Gallery. Since 2010 Luna has curated numerous exhibitions and developed programming with a heavy focus on Central and South Texas artists.


  • Justin Martinez

    Justin Martinez is the Bexar County Justice Project Advocate at the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, having joined the organization in early 2020. He previously served as a Policy Associate at TCJC, where he focused on addressing the devastating impacts of de facto life sentences on youth. Justin is pursuing his Master of Arts in Legal Studies, with a Paralegal Certification, at Texas State University. During his time in the educational field, he advocated for the arts and their importance in the overall approach to a child’s education. As the Bexar County Justice Project Advocate, Justin will work with local partners to reform practices that lead to justice system involvement and overly harsh punishments for kids and adults.

  • Faylita Hicks (she/they)

    Faylita Hicks is a queer Afro-Latinx activist, writer, and interdisciplinary artist. Born in South Central California and raised in Central Texas, they use their intersectional experiences to advocate for the rights of BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ people. They are the author of HoodWitch (Acre Books, 2019), a finalist for the 2020 Lambda Literary Award for Bisexual Poetry. The former Editor-in-Chief of Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, they currently serve as the 2021 Poet-in-Residence for Civil Rights Corps. Hicks is the recipient of fellowships and residencies from Broadway Advocacy Coalition, The Dots Between, Jack Jones Literary Arts, Lambda Literary, Tin House, and the Right of Return USA. Their poetry, essays, and digital art have been published in or are forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Ecotone, Kenyon Review, Longreads, Poetry, Slate, Texas Observer, Yale Review, amongst others. Their personal account of their time in pretrial incarceration in Hays County is featured in the ITVS Independent Lens 2019 documentary, “45 Days in a Texas Jail,” and the Brave New Films 2021 documentary narrated by Mahershala Ali, “Racially Charged: America’s Misdemeanor Problem.” Hicks received a BA in English from Texas State University-San Marcos and an MFA in Creative Writing from Sierra Nevada University.

  • Ya'Ke Smith

    Ya'Ke made his first film at the age of 15, while a student at Sam Houston High School in his native San Antonio, Texas and has yet to look back. His films have received world-wide acclaim, screening and winning awards at over 100 film festivals including The Cannes International Film Festival, The Pan African Film and Arts festival, The Sedicorto International Film Festival Forli and The Los Angeles Shorts Film Festival, to name a few. Ya’Ke graduated with his B.A. from the Communication Arts Department at the University of The Incarnate Word, where he later became the youngest recipient of the Alumni of Distinction for Professional Achievement award. He received his M.F.A. from the University of Texas at Austin’s film program, where he is currently an Associate Professor of film and the Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Moody College of Communication. He was previously the Morgan Woodward Distinguished Professor of Film at the University of Texas at Arlington. Variety magazine named him one of the best film educators in the world.

  • Bexas County D.A. Joe Gonzales

    Joe Gonzales was born in San Antonio, Texas. He earned a bachelor's degree in political science from St. Mary's University in 1981 and a J.D. degree from St. Mary's University School of Law in 1988. Gonzales' career experience includes working as a trial prosecutor with both the Harris County and the Bexar County District Attorney's Offices before opening up his own practice, the Law Offices of Joe D. Gonzales, where he worked as a criminal defense attorney. Gonzales took office as Bexar County Criminal District Attorney in January of 2019 on a pledge to reform the office, restore public confidence, and make the office more accountable to the voters.

  • Laquita Garcia

    I was born and raised in Dallas, Tx. In September 2013, I moved to San Antonio to open a new TOP office on San Antonio's Westside. I Grew up very poor in a barrio on the West end of Dallas. My parents were too busy working to educate us about voting, nor did they ever vote themselves. As an adult and directly impacted by the criminal justice system, I had a lot to say about how this country and state should be run from the comfort of my living room sofa but never once thought I should vote or even that it mattered. One day that all changed because of a knock on my door by the Texas Organizing Project. The canvasser I spoke to connected my issues to the importance of voting and helped me realize that all votes mattered if we wanted to have our issues addressed. So in 2014, I cast my first vote, and it was for a woman, Wendy Davis, who was running for Governor. Not only did I cast a vote, but I also started working at the Texas Organizing Project, where I have been for the last eight years. I've worked on an array of issue-based campaigns like Healthcare, Immigration, neighborhood issues. I've run some very successful GOTV field efforts for the organization and now doing what I genuinely love, and that is advocating for criminal justice reform in Texas.

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The views and opinions expressed in this online screening are those of the presenters and participants, and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of ITVS, public broadcasting, or any entities hosting the screening.