Sandra Bland documentary to premiere at Tribeca Film Festival
A documentary film entitled Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland will be premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 25th, and later this year will air on HBO. The film, which HBO describes as part legal thriller, part parable concerning race in America follows the confusing and ambiguous last days of Sandra Bland who died in a Waller County, Texas jail following an arrest.
Bland’s family members feature prominently in the documentary, questioning the official account of events, and walking through where she was held and the cell she died in. Of the video the family was given showing the discovery of Bland’s body in her cell, Bland’s sister, Sharon Cooper says of the video the family was shown of Sandra Bland by the Waller County Jail, “There’s no time stamps, there’re no dates.”
Directors Kate Davis and David Heilbroner used Bland’s online video series “Sandy Speaks” in order to have her voice tell her story in addition to the family’s point of view. The pair also directed a short film titled Traffic Stop centered around the dramatic arrest of a 26 year old African-American Austin woman following a routine traffic stop. It was nominated for an Academy Award in 2018.
Following her death, Bland’s family was awarded a $1.9 million wrongful death suit against Waller County and the Texas Department of Public Safety in 2016, and the state of Texas passed a severely handicapped Sandra Bland Act consisting of mild police reforms. Charge of perjury were later dropped against her arresting officer, former Texas State Trooper Brian Encinia.
Check out a clip from the documentary below: