The film Long Shot is a brilliant and fascinating examination into the case of Juan Catalan, who was wrongfully accused of murder. The documentary follows Juan and his lawyer fighting for justice, and shows how one random twist of fate would lead to his exoneration!
Director Jacob LaMendola takes an interesting, engaging and visually pleasing approach to this true story. The film doesn't need fancy cinematography because it's so captivating that even those who don’t usually enjoy docs will be hooked! With a running time of only 40 minutes long – which makes for great viewing with limited time or those on the go.
The crime itself was vicious, yet uncomplicated. Martha Puebla was gunned down on the doorstep of her home in Sun Valley, California in 2004. A witness provided police with a description of the shooter. Detectives working the case claimed it matched Juan Catalan. Armed with no more than a witness description and a convoluted motive, the police set out to get their man.
The case hinges on Juan proving his attendance at a baseball game. Despite his family and girlfriend corroborating his story, the police will not accept his version of events. He will need to find an independent witness to place him in the stadium. His attorney, Todd Melkin, comes up with the inspired idea of combing CCTV footage and the ESPN sports broadcast to find Juan in the stadium.
It’s a long shot, but it could save Juan’s life. After days of pouring over videotapes, his attorney spots Juan in the crowd of 56,000. Unfortunately, the footage is too grainy to positively identify his client. When all seems lost, salvation comes from an unexpected source.
Long Shot is a life-affirming, feel-good documentary. However, it raises serious questions about the integrity of the LAPD and state prosecutors. If not for a random twist of fate, Juan Catalan would now be sitting on death row awaiting execution. This is an amazing story that will leave you questioning the criminal justice system.