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Director/DP Matthew Heineman Shoots in the Middle of a War Zone for ‘Cartel Land’

Director and DP Matthew Heineman talks to Indiewire about the challenges of shooting his documentary Cartel Land, about the war on Mexican drug cartels.

He says of the film’s most challenging scene, “There’s a scene in Cartel Land in which I’m crammed in the back of a jeep in Michoacán, Mexico. A member of the Autodefensas (citizens who rose up to fight back against the villainous Knights Templar drug cartel) was interrogating a suspected cartel member, constantly jamming his pistol into the man’s forehead, threatening him, intimidating him for more information. Not only was it frightening and disturbing, but I could barely move as I was jammed in the middle seat, sandwiched by two other armed men. It was an hour-long take, while the car was speeding through curvy city streets. Throughout this scene, which turned out to be an important turning point in the film, I was constantly thinking about how I would edit it and what angles I would need to cover the scene.”

Read the full story here.