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‘Cartel Land’ Editor on Getting the Right Amount of Emotion in a 2-Minute Trailer

Matthew Heineman’s Oscar-nominated documentary Cartel Land is a harrowing look at Mexico’s drug trade. To make the film, co-producer and editor Bradley J. Ross cut down over 700 houses of footage into the feature-length documentary as well as creating all of the film’s trailers.

“What’s most compelling to me about the movie is how much access director Matt Heineman got and the risks he took to tell the story,” Ross tells Brief. “He was present during unbelievable moments like meth cooks and gun battles. In one scene, bullets were flying and you can see from the footage that he didn’t even flinch. This was the tip of the iceberg because he recorded around 700 hours of footage. This was the true challenge of editing the film because we had to tell the story in 90 minutes. I was also privileged when Matt approached my company Manhattan Productions to edit/produce all the trailers for the film. To tell the story with just as much emotion in 2:00 was yet another challenge.”

CARTEL LAND: TRAILER from Manhattan Productions LLC on Vimeo.