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The Years of Fierro

César Fierro, the oldest Mexican prisoner on death row in the United States, has been languishing in a Texas prison for over thirty years. His sentence has been put off repeatedly as the contradictory details of his initial trial have been reviewed. The prosecuting attorney stated that he would not have proceeded with the trial had these details been revealed. César continues to await execution by lethal injection for a murder that evidence shows he did not commit. One of the most painful consequences of César's incarceration is the effect that the injustice and separation has had on his younger brother, Sergio, demonstrating how this miscarriage of justice resonates beyond one wrongfully imprisoned man. The Years of Fierro is a compassionate portrayal of César Fierro and the psychological hardship that he endures while awaiting his final day.

  • Santiago Esteinou
    Dolor Crónico
  • Santiago Esteinou
    Dolor Crónico
  • Alejandro Durán
  • César Fierro
    Key Cast
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    Los Años De Fierro
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Death Penalty, Social Justice, Crime, Mexico, Texas, United States, Criminal Justice, Anti-Death Penalty, Capital Punishment, Abolish Death Penalty, Justice, Latin America
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 40 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    June 1, 2014
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
    Mexico, United States
  • Language:
    English, Spanish
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Toronto International Film Festival
    World Premiere
  • Many Festivals and Awards. Please see attached press kit.
Distribution Information
  • EPF Media
    Country: United States
    Rights: All Rights
  • EPF Media
    Country: Canada
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Santiago Esteinou

Santiago Esteinou is a documentary filmmaker and producer form Mexico City. He studied filmmaking in Mexico´s Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica and later received a Master of Fine Arts in Film and Media Arts form Temple University. Santiago received a Fulbright grant in 2008. He has directed the documentaries Los Años de Fierro and Dolor Crónico.

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Director Statement

"The Years of Fierro" ("Los Años de Fierro”) started as a school project. It was my thesis film for the MFA in Film and Media Arts at Temple University. Over time, it became the most important project I’ve ever taken. I didn’t want to tell César and Sergio’s story only from the moral and ethical point of view. For me this was not a film about the death penalty, but about the effects of injustice on a family. While making the film, I tried to portray the human side of it; looking at the characters with respect, but without being condescending. The most difficult part of making this film was the limited amount time that the prison gave us permission to see César – a very short period every 90 days. This policy is designed to make it difficult for the media to get to know the person beyond being a “prisoner” so that we don’t think about the death penalty as a punishment for real people but as a punishment for criminals...

Over time César, Sergio and the lawyers have become my friends. I feel profound respect and admiration for all of them. I hope this film helps create awareness about the many ethical and legal problems surrounding the death penalty. I also hope that one day the authorities in Texas review César's case and finally accept that they made a mistake and that César deserves justice.