Film poster for "Ricochet" with lawyer talking to press and news headline of Zaraté vs. Steinle case
Film poster for "Ricochet" with lawyer talking to press and news headline of Zaraté vs. Steinle case
RICOCHET is the story of the shooting of a woman by an undocumented immigrant that ignited a political and media furor, and the two public defenders who fight to reveal the truth behind this controversial case


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Social Justice • Criminal Justice • Law & Legal Studies • Immigration • Immigrant RightsLatinx StudiesPolitical Science  Media Studies  Gun Control  Forensics  Human Rights • Conservatism

Date of Completion: 2021 | Run Time: 76 minutes​​ | Language: English & Spanish with English or Spanish subtitles | Captions: Yes | Includes: Transcript & Study Guide | Directors: Jeff Adachi and Chihiro WimbushProducers: Jeff Adachi and Chihiro Wimbush

RICOCHET is a documentary feature film about the trial of an undocumented immigrant, Jose Inés Garcia Zaraté, for the accidental shooting of a young woman, Kate Steinle on Pier 14 in San Francisco in July of 2015. The incident gains national attention when Donald Trump exploits this on the campaign trail for the anti-immigration movement that he rides to the Republican nomination and eventually, the White House. At the same time, the national media takes the story and makes it a referendum on San Francisco’s sanctuary city policy. So the stakes are high when the trial finally begins in fall 2017, with the defense led by two San Francisco public defenders: Chief Attorney Matt Gonzalez and Francisco Ugarte, head of the office’s Immigration Defense Unit.

Educational Media Reviews Online | LaRoi Lawton, Library & Learning Resources Department, Bronx Community College of the City University of New York
"Jeff Adachi and Chihiro Wimbush have created a film so powerful and, at the same time, contradictory about everything America is supposed to represent: the right to a fair trial; a trial by jury from an impartial jury; an unbiased approach to civil rights and legal process. This documentary illustrates that while our courts have recognized that a fair trial depends on an impartial jury if a person is excluded from serving on a jury pool based on sex, race, ancestry, or religion, the U.S. Constitution’s promise of an impartial jury of one’s peers is illusory."

The San Francisco Standard | Richard von Busack
"Adachi and Wimbush wrap this story of diabolical misfortune with well-wrought aesthetics."

San Francisco Examiner | Anita Katz
"Wimbush describes “Ricochet” as both a document of the Garcia-Zarate case and a close-up look at how the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office plays a crucial role in the justice system by providing those who cannot afford an attorney with capable, dedicated legal representation."

BeyondChron | Peter Wong
"The beauty of Ricochet is in its showing in painstaking detail how, stripped of its racist accoutrements, the Steinle death can be understood as the product of a confluence of freak occurrences."

Apex Express | Miko Lee, Co-Host
"Their story is so heartbreaking, but the fact that it was used as an anti-immigrant stance, as opposed to an anti-gun stance shows to me the power structures that are alive."

Jeff Adachi, Co-Director/Producer
"Ricochet provides a framework to intelligently and rationally frame the question of how and why immigrants are often scapegoated and why this case became a vehicle for politicians such as President Trump to further their anti-immigration policies."


Jason D. Mak Award for Social Justice | DisOrient Asian American Film Festival
Audience Award for Best Documentary | CAAMFest
Audience Award for Best Documentary | Cine Las Americas Film Festival
Opening Night Film DisOrient Asian American Film Festival
Special Recognition for Best Editing Thin Line Fest
Best Director | OKCine Latino Film Festival
Best Documentary Film | Cinesol Film Festival
Impact in Arts & Media Award | National Immigration Project
Closing Night Film | Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival
Best Documentary Feature | Bronx Social Justice Matters Film Festival
Grand Jury Prize | El Paso Film Festival
Best Documentary Feature | El Paso Film Festival
Best Documentary Feature | Footcandle Film Festival
Best Documentary Honorable Mention | Festival De Cine Latino Americano
Opening Night Film | Social & Economic Justice Film Festival
Opening Night Film | SF Doc Fest
Best Director Documentary Feature | OKCine Latino Film Festival
Best Feature-Length Documentary Latino & Native American Film Festival
Best Documentary | Harlem International Film Festival

SF Doc Fest
Sacramento Asian Pacific Film Festival
Xican Indie Film Festival
Disorient Asian American Film Festival
Houston Latino Film Festival
Thin Line Fest
San Diego Latino Film Festival
Santa Barbara International Film Festival
Cinematters NY Social Justice Film Festival
Cine Las Americas International Film Festival
CineSol Film Festival
Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival
Bronx Social Justice Matters Film Festival
El Paso Film Festival
Footcandle Film Festival
Festival De Cine Latino Americano
Social & Economic Justice Film Festival
OKCine Latino Film Festival
ReFrame Film Festival
Immigration Film Festival
Chicago International Social Change Film Festival
Ojai Film Festival
DocUtah International Film Festival
United Nations Association Human Rights Film Festival
Lost River Film Festival
Cine Sin Fronteras / Milwaukee Film Festival
Chagrin Documentary Film Festival
Global Peace Film Festival
Morehouse College Human Rights Film Festival
Oakland International Film Festival
Lane Doc Fest
DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival
CineFestival San Antonio
OC Film Fiesta
AVFest (Alexander Valley Film Festival)
Las Cruces International Film Festival

National Immigration Project
Laredo Film Society
Cine Las Americas Mexican American Cultural Center
Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema - Face to Face with the Filmmaker Series
Para La Defensa - Stanislaus University
DocScapes - University of Arizona
Semana de Cine Migrante - festival tour across Mexico
National Association of Public Defenders Conference
FESTIBA @ University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
South Texas College

Chihiro Wimbush is an award-winning, Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker dedicated to telling stories of empathy, empowerment and positive transformation in the world.  He is a former Bay Area Video Coalition Fellow, Sundance Creative Producing Institute invitee, and a participant in the Oakland Hatchlab, and the inaugural On Being Gathering hosted by Krista Tippett, featuring change-makers from around the world.

Chihiro co-directed/co-produced and shot the documentary feature “Dogtown Redemption” spending several years following the lives of homeless shopping cart recyclers in West Oakland.  The film went on to win an Audience Award at the Mill Valley Film Festival, aired on Independent Lens on PBS and was nominated for a News & Documentary Emmy in 2017. Chihiro edited the award-winning documentary feature “Changing Season” (for the Center for Asian American Media) about four generations of a Japanese-American peach farming family fighting prejudice in the Central Valley of California which also aired nationally on PBS.

Chihiro served as editor for former San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi on his trilogy of award-winning films following the work of the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office: “The Ride,” “Defender” and now “Ricochet” which he also co-directed/produced after Jeff’s passing during production.  Chihiro is also co-producing/directing the short documentary “Every Step A Prayer” about a group of Indigenous women leading a series of Healing Walks in the Refinery Corridor of the Bay Area.

Matt Gonzalez is Chief Attorney at the San Francisco Public Defender's Office, a position he has held for more than a decade. He represented José Ines Garcia Zaraté as co-counsel in state court.

Francisco Ugarte is a longtime immigrant rights and social justice advocate. Francisco currently manages the Immigration Defense Unit at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, where he provides direct representation for immigrants facing deportation, and advises criminal defenders how to avoid adverse immigration consequences resulting from a plea bargain. Hired and mentored by the late Jeff Adachi, he was named co-Public Defender of the Year in 2018 for his work representing Jose Ines Garcia Zarate in one of the country's highest profile homicide trials. In 2017 after the election of then President Donald Trump, Francisco helped lead the formation of the Public Defender's first deportation defense unit, designed to provide an emergency line of defense for immigrants in deportation proceedings but unable to afford a lawyer. The unit is now California’s largest deportation defense provider for immigrants who are detained and facing deportation. Prior to working at the Public Defender's Office, Francisco worked at Dolores Street Community Services, where he founded and built that organization's first deportation defense program amidst a climate of large scale workplace and home immigration raids. In 2009, Francisco litigated Matter of Garcia-Garcia, 25 I&N Dec. 93 (BIA 2009), the first immigration case which held that a non-citizen could request a court to order that ICE remove an ankle bracelet from a non-citizen in deportation proceedings. Francisco was recognized in 2015 by Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA) for his work representing survivors of domestic violence wrongfully turned over to ICE for deportation, and in 2011 by Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA) for his immigration raids defense work.

Francisco started his career as a union organizer in 1994, where he worked for eight years helping workers build and strengthen their unions. After graduating from CUNY School of Law in 2005, he worked as a labor attorney at Leonard Carder, LLP, where he defended workers and unions in state, federal, and administrative courts. He has played key roles in local and statewide fights to strengthen San Francisco's sanctuary ordinance, and frequently lectures on topics relating to the merger of immigration and criminal law. He is regularly quoted in the media on issues of immigrant rights.