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Directed by Matthew Heineman
FEATURE DOCUMENTARY 100 Minutes New York Premiere
The vivid setting in Matthew Heineman’s groundbreaking documentary evokes a classic western movie: dusty frontiers, and rough-riding buckskin-clad lone rangers. Yet here you’ll find no simple cowboy and bandit story. With unprecedented access, Cartel Land gets eyeball deep in this on-the-ground, fiery investigation of illegal narcotic trafficking, and the actions of the vigilante groups on both sides of the drug war. Heineman passionately collages disparate groups with a common aim: to impede the advancement of the Mexican drug cartels, often taking questionable measures to ensure victory. The film plunges us into urgent sociopolitical issues, while posing larger questions on violence, corruption, ownership of the law and jousting definitions of justice, urging us to confront the pressing and polarizing moral dilemmas at hand.

Adventurous, brave, and raw, Cartel Land transcends a visual discussion of good and evil, and investigates the beautifully subjective gray area by asking: must fire be fought with fire? Who decides where might and right meet?

—Genna Terranova
About the Director(s)
Matthew Heineman is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker based in New York. He previously directed Escape Fire, which premiered on CNN. Cartel Land premiered in the U.S. Documentary Competition at the Sundance Film Festival and won the Best Director Award.

Film Info
  • Section:
  • Year:
  • Length:
    100 minutes
  • Language:
    English, Spanish
  • Country:
  • Premiere:
    New York
  • Connect:
Cast & Credits
  • Producer:
    Matthew Heineman, Tom Yellin
  • Executive Producer:
    Molly Thompson, David McKillop, Robert Debitetto
  • Director:
    Matthew Heineman
  • Editor:
    Matthew Hamachek, Matthew Heineman, Bradley J. Ross, Pax Wassermann
  • Composer:
    H. Scott Salinas, Jackson Greenberg
  • Cinematographer:
    Matthew Heineman, Matt Porwoll



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