Deborah S. Esquenazi starts production company for queer stories

Deborah Esquenazi

Emmy-nominated and Peabody-winning director and screenwriter Deborah S. Esquenazi has launched her own production company to tell stories about women of color and LGBTQ people. Photo: Deborah Esquenazi

Emmy-nominated and Peabody-winning director and screenwriter Deborah S. Esquenazi has launched her own production company, Myth of Monsters, to tell stories about women of color and LGBTQ people.

Esquenazi — who created the documentary “Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four” —  will team with former “Mad Men” writer Jason Grote to adapt her Peabody-winning, Emmy-nominated documentary for television, according to a statement on her website.

The 2016 documentary helped exonerate four Latina lesbians wrongfully convicted of gang raping two young girls in San Antonio, Texas. The four women served more than a decade in prison before the case unraveled, and they were found innocent. Esquenazi’s documentary was key in getting the women exonerated.


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Myth of Monsters mission is “to use storytelling to complicate & upend pernicious myths about women, POC, and queer folks,” according to its website.


The influences and themes include crime myth, identity politics, sexuality and gender violence, and monster theories, according to the website.

One of the first projects on deck for Myth of Monsters is the bilingual coming-of-age, LGBTQ drama “Queen of Wands.” The semi-autobiographical film will be set in 1989 and will focus on growing up lesbian in a Cuban-Sephardic household.

The film will be Esquenazi’s first feature-length screenplay, and she’ll also direct.


“As a filmmaker, I am committed to using media to reveal societal inequities, rally support for important causes, and create probing, powerful cinema,” Esquenazi has said. Her other credits include the 2009 feature documentary “Isaiah’s Children” and the 2014 doc short “The Kellers.”

This story first appeared on Cafe con Leche Nerds.



About the author

Beatriz E. Valenzuela

Beatriz E. Valenzuela is an award-winning journalist who’s covered breaking news in Southern California since 2006 and has been on the front lines of national and international news events. She also covers all things nerd, including comic book culture and video games. She’s an amateur obstacle course racer, constant fact-checker, mother of three, and lover of all things geek.

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