Bei Bei is a legal and political drama with two extraordinary women at its center: one, a Chinese immigrant charged with first degree murder and the other, a successful white collar lawyer who unwittingly finds herself defending a woman against legally unprecedented charges.
“[An] infuriating, deeply moving, thoughtfully considered documentary that confronts a host of ethical, political, and philosophical issues surrounding the first woman to be prosecuted for murder after attempting suicide while pregnant.” — Andrea Chase, Killer Films Reviews
“ …it’s incredibly important that audiences hear, and experience, Bei Bei’s story.” — Miriam Yueng, Former E.D. National Asian Pacific Women’s Forum
After immigrating to America, Bei Bei Shuai began working at a small Chinese restaurant in Indianapolis, Indiana. She planned a future with the man she loved and with whom she was expecting a baby. However, without warning, he abandoned her, taking with him thousands of Bei Bei’s money and leaving her isolated and desperately depressed. With nowhere to turn, Bei Bei consumed what she thinks will be a fatal dose of rat poison. Co-workers from the restaurant rush her to the hospital and Bei Bei survives. But when her daughter, born prematurely, dies in her arms, her personal tragedy becomes a public crime. In the eyes of the state she’s no longer a grieving mother, but a cold-blooded murderer.
Recent changes in Indiana’s murder laws, passed by close allies of former Governor Mike Pence, lead to charges of murder and attempted feticide. Bei Bei is sent to jail, pending trial. Her attorney, Linda Pence, expects to free her quickly. To her astonishment, the prosecutor refuses to drop the charges, maintaining that the law is clear and that Bei Bei is a murderer. Bei Bei spends over a year and a half in jail before Linda raises enough money to meet bail. As Bei Bei gradually recovers, she’s drawn into an increasingly close bond with Linda, who fights to convince the prosecution to dismiss the case and free Bei Bei from charges that could send her to prison for the rest of her life. The documentary provides extraordinary access to Bei Bei and Linda as they fight the charges, culminating in an unexpected resolution, counterpointed by Bei Bei and Linda’s personal narratives. Throughout their journey, Linda and Bei Bei uncover hidden political motives behind the case that could affect many more women than just Bei Bei. The film is an in depth look at how political, cultural and legal forces can conspire to disrupt and wreck the lives of societies’ most vulnerable and marginalized people.
BEI BEI is the latest film in a series of documentaries focusing on the transformative struggles of individual women engaged in legal, political and cultural battles that revolve around sexuality, reproductive health and justice. BEI BEI centers around a high stakes legal case that highlights the harsh political realities of the day. It tells the story the public didn’t see: Bei Bei grieving the loss of her child while trying to regain her mental health and face murder charges, the fierce attorney who fought tooth and nail to keep her out of jail, and the communities who came together to protest a prosecution many felt was a witch hunt.
Other documentaries in this series include THE EDUCATION OF SHELBY KNOX, which follows a budding young feminist campaigning against abstinence-only sex education in her conservative, Southern Baptist community of Lubbock, Texas. YOUNG LAKOTA is the portrait of a young woman living on the Pine Ridge Reservation, whose fight over abortion politics and tribal sovereignty leads to self-discovery. For more information please visit www.incite-pictures.com.