×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Los Cabos: Movie Based on Bestseller ‘Picking Cotton’ Gains Momentum

Jessica Sanders' narrative project selected for Cabo Discovery forum

As the director of Sundance-winning documentary “After Innocence,” filmmaker Jessica Sanders has long been interested in what happens to the unjustly accused. But what happens to those who wrongly accused the innocent person could be equally provocative. That’s the premise behind “Picking Cotton,” a dramatic true story that has been selected for Cabos Discovery, a forum for projects in development.

The movie will tell the story of rape survivor Jennifer Thompson and her accused rapist Ronald Cotton. In April, “Picking Cotton” won the Sloan Filmmaker Fund grant for science-based films from the Tribeca Film Institute, an apt choice since it was one of the first cases to be overturned due to DNA analysis,

Cotton was imprisoned for 11 years before DNA evidence cleared him, but the story didn’t end with the freed man forever hating the woman who put him behind bars. Instead, they became friends and activists for social justice. Their story was told in the 2009 bestseller “Picking Cotton,” written by Cotton and Thompson with Erin Torneo. Though a film was planned after the book appeared, it didn’t get off the ground, and Sanders is now planning it as her first narrative feature.

She seems uniquely qualified to tell the story, since Cotton was featured in “After Innocence.” “I’m close to them and this story,” Sanders explains. “I’ve been with them for years.”

“I’d like to make it very small so I can make the movie I want to make,” she says. With stories like the “Serial” podcast resonating throughout the culture, “I think it’s an incredible time for this,” she says.

But Sanders notes that despite other stories of innocent people gaining attention, “There’s never been a wrongful conviction story that tells the story of both the victim and the person convicted. They’re best friends and totally connected.” Addressing race, class and sexual assault on campus, it film’s themes are extremely topical, Sanders notes.

Sanders, who also made the Oscar-nommed short “Sing!,” will be able to apply her documentary experience and instincts to to the narrative world with this project. “I love storytelling. It’s a different animal but a similar approach.” Interest in the project has been growing since Tribeca, she says, and she’s hoping to further continue those conversations in Cabo.

The Discovery section matches filmmakers with potential financial partners and production collaborators from around the world for discussions during the Los Cabos film festival, which takes place Nov. 11 to Nov. 15 in the Mexican resort town.

More Film

  • International Film Festival and Awards Macao

    Macao Festival Signs Double Deals With Shanghai

    The International Film Festival & Awards Macao on Sunday signed twin agreements with institutions in Shanghai. The IFFAM, which is building towards its fourth edition in December, struck a collaboration agreement with the Shanghai International Film Festival. Separately, it is solidifying an existing informal arrangement with the Shanghai Film Art Academy concerning an exchange of [...]

  • wanda Movie Metropolis Qingdao

    Why Simon West Is Making Movies in China (EXCLUSIVE)

    British director Simon West (“Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” “Con Air,” “The Expendables 2”) is set to dive further into the Middle Kingdom at the helm of his second Chinese action-adventure blockbuster. The Wanda-backed “The Legend Hunters,” hits theaters next summer. West was brought onto the project by veteran producer Eryong, who had approached him about [...]

  • The Eight Hundred

    Chinese Research Group May Have Caused Cancellation of 'The Eight Hundred' Premiere

    Chinese authorities may have abruptly yanked the $80 million patriotic war epic “The Eight Hundred” the day before its opening-night premiere at the Shanghai Intl. Film Festival because it didn’t portray rivals of the ruling Communist Party in a sufficiently negative light, local reports said. Huayi Bros., which produced the film, had on Friday attributed [...]

  • Simon West

    Simon West Directing Chinese Tomb-Raid Movie 'Legend Hunters' (EXCLUSIVE)

    British director Simon West, who made Angelina Jolie-starring “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” is now co-directing a Chinese tomb-raiding film. “The Legend Hunters” is the next installment in the “Mojin” universe based on the popular fantasy novel series “Ghost Blows Out the Light.” Backed by Wanda Pictures and Beijing-based Saints Entertainment, the film is set for [...]

  • Emu Runner

    Sydney Film Review: 'Emu Runner'

    Writer-director Imogen Thomas’ debut feature “Emu Runner” has and probably will play in designated family-themed strands of film festivals, and given its story of a 9-year-old Aboriginal girl who deals with grief in the wake of her mother’s death by bonding with a lone female representative of Australia’s largest native bird species, this programming strategy [...]

  • Sophia Antipolis

    Locarno in Los Angeles Film Review: 'Sophia Antipolis'

    There are two Sophias in French director Virgil Vernier’s clever, cunning, chilling fifth feature. The first is its setting, the eponymous “Sophia Antipolis,” a technology park in the south of France, a place self-consciously designed as an experiment in social engineering, where an international community of professionals would, it was hoped, create an environment of [...]

  • I Lost My Body

    Netflix Pickup ‘I Lost My Body,’ ‘Buñuel,’ ‘Away’ Top Annecy Festival

    ANNECY, France  — Fulfilling expectations, Jeremy Clapin’s “I Lost My Body, the subject of one of the highest-profile Netflix deals at this year’s Cannes, won this Saturday the Annecy Festival’s top Cristal Award of best feature plus, in a relatively rare Annecy double whammy, the festival’s Audience Award. The first was expected, the second a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content