"Saint Judy": Judy Wood (JD '81) to be subject of biopic written by Dmitry Portnoy (JD '13)
March 20, 2016 -- Pepperdine Law alumna Judy Wood (JD '81), a Los Angeles immigration attorney who won a landmark case changing the laws of asylum for women, will be the subject of a new biographical film by Cannonball Productions entitled "Saint Judy." The original screenplay for "Saint Judy" was written by Pepperdine Law alumnus Dmitry Portnoy (JD '13), who interned with Wood while in law school and then brought Wood's story to the attention of director Sean Hanish. Hanish and filmmakers Paul Jaconi-Biery and Kelly Kahl are collaborating on the film.
Excerpted from Deadline Hollywood:
Wood was a single mother in her mid-30s who moved to L.A. and committed herself to immigration law, particularly asylum cases. A deeply spiritual woman, she actually started practicing immigration law after a vision she had of helping others who were suffering and in need. In one of her first cases, she represented an Afghani immigrant who had been persecuted for opening up a school for girls in her home country. Wood fought a tenacious battle in and out of court against established law and the case culminated in arguing before the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. By winning the case, Wood single-handedly changed the law of asylum nationwide, allowing women to be designated a protected class — saving the lives of not only her client, but thousands of other female refugees who would have been sent back to their home countries where they faced certain death.