Private Project

A Witch Story

Young queer writer Alice was a teenager when she discovered something that changed her life forever: she was a descendant of Martha Allen Carrier, a woman hanged for witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. At 24, after scouring archives, reading academic texts, and compiling hundreds of pages of notes on witch hunts, Alice is ready to share her findings in a book. But before finishing the story, she has some last strings to tie up, which leads her to revisit the last days of Martha and to reckon with the fact that for millions around the world, Salem is not over. Departing from a personal quest, and merging with the testimony of Italian feminist guru Silvia Federici, A Witch Story is a feature documentary about memory and the need to unveil the real social and political motivations behind the Great Witch Hunts of Europe, and the New World, to understand the violence waged against women today.

  • Yolanda Pividal
    Two Dollar Dance, Of Kites and Borders
  • Yolanda Pividal
  • Alice Markham-Cantor
  • Ruth Somalo
  • Yolanda Pividal
  • Alice Markham-Cantor
    Key Cast
  • Silvia Federici
    Key Cast
  • Yolanda Pividal
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Historical, True crime, Feminism
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 13 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    October 31, 2022
  • Production Budget:
    72,756 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    Spain, United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    New York
    United States
    November 12, 2022
    World Premiere
Director Biography - Yolanda Pividal

Spanish documentary filmmaker and multimedia journalist based between New York and Madrid. Her documentary films, mostly focused on the impact of geopolitical borders in the lives of women and children and ¨In-Between ̈ cultures, have been awarded and exhibited in festivals and theaters internationally. Her work has also received support and recognition from The IFP and Fledgling Fund (Best Emerging Latino filmmaker Award), the International Documentary Association (David L. Wolper Award Nominee), New York Council of Arts, National Board of the Review and Chicken and Egg pictures, among others. Yolanda was selected as the international filmmaker-in-residence (a program supported by the Academy of Motion Pictures and the National Endowment of Arts) for the Jacob Burns Film Center of New York, where she worked as a documentary film instructor and led innovative community storytelling programs for over four years. As a director and producer of TV documentaries, Yolanda has received four New York Emmy awards for her work in the show about Latino culture ¨Nueva York¨ (CUNY TV) and the Golden Communicator Award from the American Academy of Visual and Interactive Arts. From 2016 to 2018, Yolanda was the Artistic Coordinator of Cineteca Madrid, in Matadero Contemporary Arts Center, one of the main hubs for documentary filmmaking in Spain. She currently juggles motherhood and the development of new documentary projects.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

I come from a humble family that emigrated from the rural area or "La Mancha" to the city of Madrid only 40 years ago. I remember that, from a very young age, my grandmother used to tell me stories of "good women and bad women". Legends she was told about how dozens of witches gathered every night in a nearby town until they were "disappeared". All while weaving esparto grass with her calloused hands in the shade of an olive tree. This is a memory that changes the setting and the protagonists, but which is shared by thousands of women around the world and that has shaped the perception of the place that we as women have in the world with disastrous sequences.

A Witch Story aims to deconstruct the tales that we have been told about women for hundreds of years and which still kill thousands in witch hunts today. Modern witch hunts have taken place in the last decade on every inhabited continent, but are most common in countries that are recovering from European colonialism, under exploitation by global capital, and under the stress of Christian missionary activity. Where modern witch hunts are less common, we see the same rhetoric that was used in the witch hunts of the past in social and political landscapes: in struggles for access to reproductive healthcare, the scapegoating of immigrants and the shaming of impoverished communities, and sometimes word for word in the denouncement of female politicians and leaders of social movements. But we can also find stories of resistance. Feminist movements have gathered momentum, support, and power in Latin America and Western Europe under the chant: “We are the descendants of the witches that you could not burn.”

A Witch Story is born in the context of the International Campaign to Restore the Memory of Women Executed for Witchcraft founded by Silvia Federici - a growing network of women historians, scholars, anthropologists, archivists, students, writers, visual storytellers,and journalists from countries such as Spain, United States, India, Italy, Switzerland France, Norway or Ecuador. This is a campaign that seeks to address the truth of witch hunts, past and present, and reconstruct the forgotten history of murdered women. In this context, A Witch Story aims to become a tool to challenge historical and political preconceptions, allow for new narratives to emerge, and spur action to address the witch hunts of the present while honoring the victims of the past.