Friday, September 30, would have marked Vanessa Guillen’s 23rd birthday. Sadly, the US Army soldier who’d always dreamed of joining the military was murdered in 2020 by a fellow soldier — which also came after she’d been subjected to sexual harassment while stationed at Fort Hood in Texas. Now, two years later, a new Netflix documentary is set to debut on the streamer that will delve into the particulars of this tragedy that rocked the country during the pandemic.
But the production from New York-based Story Syndicate doesn’t stop there. In addition to Vanessa’s story, this Netflix documentary will also spotlight her family as they fight for military reform — a fight that they took all the way to the White House.
Netflix documentary: I Am Vanessa Guillen
Fittingly, Netflix announced the release date for this documentary — which hits the streaming service on November 17 — on what would have been Vanessa’s birthday.
Today would have been U.S. Army soldier Vanessa Guillén’s 23d birthday.
“I Am Vanessa Guillén,” a new documentary, will tell the story of her life, tragic murder, and her family’s incredible fight for historic military reform and justice. Coming to Netflix on November 17th. pic.twitter.com/Z76erni6aB
— Con Todo (@contodonetflix) September 30, 2022
“At the core, this is a story about overcoming the greatest odds imaginable in the name of family, love and justice,” director Christy Wegener said about the film. “This is David vs. Goliath on steroids. Taking on the US military, one of the largest, most powerful institutions in America is no easy feat. In making the film, it was incredible to witness a family, in the most tragic moment of their lives, put their grief aside, step out into the public arena and fight for the greater good.”
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Netflix’s promotional material for the film notes that Vanessa’s story sparked an international movement of assault victims demanding justice.
Other new sites and publishers on the internet have recounted the details of her murder enough by now. By way of highlighting her life, instead, viewers should know that Army Specialist Guillen was born in Houston, one of five siblings. She had a love of the military from an early age, often playing with her brother’s toy pistol. And, over the hesitation of her mother, she enlisted at 18.
Following Guillen’s murder, more than a dozen Fort Hood officials were either suspended or fired. Then-Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy ordered a sweeping investigation into the culture at Fort Hood, following a series of deaths, complaints of sexual harassment, and more at the base.
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