Fly So Far

Directed by Celina Escher

El Salvador | 2021 | 89 minutes | Color | DVD | Spanish | Subtitled | Order No. W211284 |

A grave warning of how far state control of women’s bodies can go, FLY SO FAR follows Teodora Vásquez, who was sentenced to thirty years in a Salvadorean prison after she suffered a stillbirth.

SYNOPSIS

As states in the U.S. enact abortion bans, FLY SO FAR serves as a grave warning of how far government control of women’s bodies can go. This brave film from Swiss-Salvadorean filmmaker Celina Escher is set in El Salvador, a country with some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world, including the criminalization of those who experience miscarriages and other obstetric emergencies.

The narrative centers on Teodora Vásquez, who was in the ninth month of her second pregnancy when she fainted and suffered a stillbirth. When she woke up at the hospital, she was accused of murder and was sentenced to thirty years in prison for aggravated homicide. At Ilopango Women’s Prison, she becomes the spokesperson for The Seventeen, a group of working-class women who were all incarcerated after having miscarriages. Many of these same women became pregnant after being sexually assaulted. While it exposes brutal human rights abuses, FLY SO FAR is unmistakably a story of collective resistance, activism, sisterhood, as well as the self-determination and agency of women.

PRESS

“Deeply moving and visually stunning cinematic testament to indomitable courage."

Jury Statement Seattle International Film Festival

“In an era where worldwide the sexual and reproductive rights of women are under serious pressure...this documentary shows that fighting human rights are not a luxury for the educated few but a universal necessity for people in less fortunate circumstances.”

Movies that Matter, Activist Documentary Award Jury Statement

“As the title FLY SO FAR declares, Vasquez goes from being crushed by poverty to being energized by taking political action in this inspiring story."

POV Magazine

“A truly empowering story of resilience and solidarity, FLY SO FAR is an unforgettable portrait of a reluctant activist determined to speak up be heard, not only for herself, but for all her sisters in the struggle against oppression.”

Hot Docs Film Festival

“[Teodora and The Seventeen’s] testimonies and cases are evidence of the State’s violence against women, but also of collective resilience, solidarity, and sisterhood.”

Guelph Film Festival

“Potent and deeply felt.”

Hebe Tabachnik, Senior Programmer, SIFF

"Highlights the hypocrisy and class prejudice surrounding El Salvador’s abortion laws."

Business Doc Europe

"[FLY SO FAR] portrays [Vazquez’s] life inside as well as after her release, showing the difficulties experienced by these women integrating back into society, particuarly given the stigma of the crime for which they were convicted."

RTL Today

SCREENING HIGHLIGHTS AND AWARDS

  • Ibero-American Competition Grand Jury Prize, Seattle International Film Festival
  • Activist Documentary Award, Movies That Matter Festival
  • Best Central American and Caribbean Film, Costa Rica International Film Festival
  • Regional Award & Human Rights Award, One World International Film Festival
  • Nominee, Tempo Documentary Award, Tempo Documentary Festival
  • Honorable Mention, New Nordic Voices Award, Nordisk Panorama
  • Hot Docs Canadian Documentary Film Festival
  • DOXA - Documentary Film Festival Vancouver
  • Berlin Human Rights Film Festival
  • Guelph Film Festival
  • Seattle International Film Festival
  • rePRO Film Fest
  • AFI Latin American Film Festival
  • Doc Cévennes
  • Move It! Film Festival
  • Innsbruck International Film Festival
  • Biografilm Festival
  • DocsMX
  • Equis Feminist Film Festival
  • Terre de Femmes - FrauenWelten Filmfest
  • Guadalajara International Film Festival
  • Millennium Docs Against Gravity Film Festival

ABOUT FILMMAKER(S)

Celina Escher

Celina Escher is a Swiss-Salvadorean filmmaker. She studied documentary film at the International Film and Television School in San Antonio de los Baños (EICTV) in Cuba. In 2016 her short film MOTRIZ was part of the student selection at IDFA and at Poitiers Film Festival 2017. Her film Verde Olivo was shown at the Film des Femmes Créteil in France and in festivals in San Francisco, England and Germany. In 2018, Celina’s short film LUZ PARA ELLAS was screened at the International Festival of New Latin American Cinema in La Habana and the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival. In March 2019 Celina was selected as one of the 50 new Latin American filmmakers at Talent Campus of Guadalajara International Film Festival in Mexico. FLY SO FAR is Celina’s first documentary feature film.

Credits: 

DIRECTOR: Celina Escher 

FEATURINGTeodora Vásquez & The 17+ 

PRODUCER: Mónica Hernández Rejón 

EDITOR: Matteo Faccenda 

CINEMATOGRAPHERS: Guillermo Argueta, Audun Fjeldheim, Celina Escher, Christian Rivera, Fabricio Sibrián, Camilo Henríquez, Nils Bucher, Kalle Jansson & Maria Åkesson 

ANIMATION: Louisa Wallström & Roland Seer 

ORIGINAL MUSIC: Mahan Mobashery & Nils Bucher  

GRAPHIC DESIGN: Spektra Design  

GRADING: Peter Magnusson/Helion Film  

SOUND DESIGN: Anders Lindahl/Ljudbang  

MASTERING: Thomas Ahlén/Terrassen  

IMPACT PRODUCER: Lourdes Gil Alvaradejo 

PRODUCTION COMPANY: Pråmfilm AB  

IN CO-PRODUCTION WITH: Sugar Rush Productions/Maria Åkesson, Chimbolo Films/Saúl Callejas & Film in Dalarna/Mattias Ehrenberg. With support of the Swedish Film Institute, film commissioner Juan Pablo Libossart, IDFA Bertha Fund, The Swedish Arts Grants Committee & Filmbasen/Region Stockholm. In collaboration with Rough Cut Service/Jordana Berg & Joëlle Alexis. 

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