Cartel Land Interview with Director Matthew Heineman & Editor Bradley J. Ross

Cartel Land is a documentary from Emmy-nominated filmmaker Matthew Heineman that looks at the Mexican drug cartels from both sides of the border.  The bold filmmaker put himself in harms way to showcase the unique point of view of two vigilante groups aiming to end the drug cartels reign of power over the people and country of Mexico.  Click through for my interview with Matthew Heineman.

Director Matthew HeinemanPhoto from Cartel Land Facebook Page.

Filmmaker Matthew Heineman's documentary tackles the drug cartel world by looking at two leaders of two different vigilante groups.  One is an American looking to secure the Arizona border and the other is a Doctor in the heart of Mexico trying to secure the towns of Mexico from the cartels.

In the Mexican state of Michoacán, Dr. Jose Mireles, a small-town physician known as "El Doctor," leads the Autodefensas, a citizen uprising against the violent Knights Templar drug cartel that has wreaked havoc on the region for years. Meanwhile, in Arizona's Altar Valley – a narrow, 52-mile-long desert corridor known as Cocaine Alley – Tim "Nailer" Foley, an American veteran, heads a small paramilitary group called Arizona Border Recon, whose goal is to stop Mexico’s drug wars from seeping across our border. 

From CARTEL LAND Website.

Here is my interview with Matthew Heineman about his gripping documentary:

Tim NAILER Foley

We started out talking about how Matthew began by covering the Arizona border conflict and it's leader Tim "Nailer" Foley.  But it was Matthew's father who told him about the Autodefensas movement in Michoacan, Mexico.

Matthew and his team were given an amazing amount of access to the Autodefensas movement and it's charismatic leader, "El Doctor".

El Doctor Dr. Jose Mireles

I asked Matthew how he got connected to Dr. Jose Mireles in the first place.

The documentary showcases the amazing way in which the towns and communities throughout Michoacan have started to embrace the Autodefensas movement.  Matthew explained to me that it was that unique quality that really caught his eye, the townspeople's yearning for legitimate change and justice in their communities.

I asked Matthew about how he shot a majority of the Mexico sequences while his DP Matt Porwoll handled the interviews.  And the film itself opens and ends with Matthew out in the middle of nowhere with actual Meth dealers making the drug.  Matthew explained that harrowing night spent with the drug dealers in the middle of nowhere!

We talked about having the film not only released in America, but in Mexico.

Cartel Land is out today in the DFW area and specifically at Angelika Plano.  I got to talk with the documentary's editor Bradley J. Ross at DIFF 2015 as well.  

For more information about the film please go, here.

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