A Jury of Her Peers

A film by Sally Heckel

1980 | 30 minutes | Color | DVD | Order No. 05858

SYNOPSIS

On a desolate American farm in the early 1900's, a farmer is found murdered in his sleep and his wife is jailed as the prime suspect. A powerful adaptation of the 1917 Susan Glaspell short story of the same name, based on her play "Trifles", A JURY OF HER PEERS presents a riveting tale of revenge, justice and women’s shared experience. Equally relevant in women’s studies courses and for use with organizations battling violence against women, this riveting feminist classic probes the notion of women’s victimization and justifiable homicide and opens the possibility for the creation of an alternate, feminist justice and judgment.

Two women, a neighbor and the sheriff’s wife, find themselves in the accused woman’s kitchen while the prosecuting attorney and their husbands search the farm for motive for the crime. As the camera lingers on small details in the kitchen – spilled sugar, a broken chair, crooked stitches in a quilt piece – the motive becomes clear as the suspect’s isolated life of physical and emotional abuse is revealed. As each new clue further incriminates the accused, the women must decide whether to reveal the evidence against her and become, in effect, a jury of her peers.

PRESS

“Simple, powerful, jolting.”

The New York Times

“Brilliant and compelling little masterpiece.”

David Robinson The London Times

“A gripping short drama that lays open some of the most basic differences between men's and women's lives, and the potential bearing of these differences on legal norms. A genuine classic.”

Katharine T. Bartlett, Professor Duke University School of Law

“How wonderful that A Jury of Her Peers is again available…for provoking critical thought about gender and social institutions, as well as for exploring notions of women's voice, feminist perspective, and collective identity. …From introduction to women's studies to feminist research methods, it never fails to get my students thinking in new ways about women, history, and justice.”

Andrea Friedman, Hist. & Women's Studies Washington University

SCREENING HIGHLIGHTS AND AWARDS

  • Academy Award Nomination – Best Dramatic Live-Action Short 1980
  • American Film Festival – Blue Ribbon
  • ATOM Award- Australian Teachers of Media
  • Best Dramatic Film- Santa Fe Winter Film Exposition
  • Chris Statuette- Columbus Film Festival
  • Cine Golden Eagle
  • Judges’ Award- Sinking Creek Film Celebration
  • London International Film Festival, England-1980
  • Mannheim International Filmweek- West Germany-1980
  • Melbourne Film Festival, Sydney Film Festival, Perth Film Festival-Australia
  • Tampere Film Festival- Finland
  • Telluride Film Festival, USA-1981
  • Virginia Film Festival
  • Wellington Film Festival- New Zealand

ABOUT FILMMAKER(S)

Sally Heckel

Sally Heckel is an independent filmmaker who produces, directs, writes, edits and often shoots her own films. She’s made short fiction films: A JURY OF HER PEERS, ORDINARY DAYS and LOU; animated shorts: THE BENT TREE; and documentaries: IT'S NOT A ONE PERSON THING. Her work has screened in Europe and the US in Festivals and also on TV, and she’s received production grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the American Film Institute. Heckel has won awards at the American Film Festival, the Chicago International Film Festival, the Sinking Creek Film Celebration and the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival, as well as an Academy Award nomination. UNSPEAKABLE is her first feature. (8/14)

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