January 10, 2007 Award-Winning Documentary "Mario's Story" To Be Screened on Jan. 31

Legal Film Series Commemorates Law Library’s 175th Anniversary

Press Contact: Audrey Fischer (202) 707-0022
Public Contact: Alisa Carrel (202) 707-9838

The award-winning documentary “Mario’s Story” (2006) will be shown at the Library of Congress at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 31, in the Mary Pickford Theater, located on the third floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C.

The event, which is sponsored jointly by the Law Library of Congress and Tufts University, is free and open to the public. Seating is limited and advance reservations are required (contact Alisa Carrel at acar@loc.gov).

The film screening will be followed by a panel discussion featuring the film’s producer and co-director Susan Koch and criminal justice champion John Terzano. A reception in the foyer of the Pickford Theater will follow the discussion.

Based on true events, “Mario’s Story” follows the 1998 murder conviction of Mario Rocha, a young Latino from East Los Angeles who was sentenced to life in prison despite the lack of physical evidence connecting him to the crime. Filmmakers Susan Koch and Jeff Werner followed Mario for more than seven years and were given unprecedented access to film inside the Calipatria State Prison as well as the behind-the-scenes legal efforts. The film also depicts Mario’s development into a gifted writer, his struggle to prove his innocence and ongoing efforts to win his freedom.

Screened at numerous film festivals this past year, the documentary was a finalist in the Austin Film Festival and the Woodstock Film Festival and received the Audience Award for Best Feature Documentary Film at the Los Angeles Film Festival.

EMMY and Peabody award-winning filmmaker Susan Koch directs and produces documentaries and nonfiction programming. Her work has appeared on ABC, NBC, HBO, PBS, MTV, The Discovery Channel, National Geographic, Turner Broadcasting, American Movie Classics, The Learning Channel and the Travel Channel. Along with Christopher Koch, she is co-founder of the independent production companies Cabin Films and Koch TV Productions. Their work has received seven EMMY awards, a George Foster Peabody and the Cable Ace Award. In 2006 she received a Soros Media Justice Fellowship in connection with her work on “Mario’s Story.” Koch is on the board of the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children and is a founding board member of Our Voices Together, a nonprofit organization founded by 9/11 families to help create a more just, compassionate world.

John Terzano is president of The Justice Project in Washington, D.C. An advocate for social justice for more than 25 years, Terzano works with national and state groups on criminal justice reform, as well as lawyers representing death row inmates. Terzano is also vice president of the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation (VVAF), an international humanitarian organization that he co-founded in 1980. In 1997 VVAF’s work on the international campaign to ban landmines was recognized with the Nobel Peace Prize. He received his undergraduate degree in public affairs from the Elliot School of International Affairs at George Washington University and graduated magna cum laude from the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law (UDC-DCSL). He received a Master of Laws degree in International Legal Studies from American University’s Washington College of Law and is an adjunct professor of Law at UDC-DCSL. Terzano is also a former vice chair of the American Bar Association’s Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities Criminal Justice Committee.

The Legal Film Series is a part of the Law Library’s 175th anniversary celebration in 2007. The series continues with the screening of the highly-acclaimed documentary “Sisters in Law” on April 4, and the Hollywood classic “12 Angry Men” on July 11.


PR 07-004
ISSN 0731-3527