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The Engineer (2014)

Death is part of Israel Ticas’ everyday existence in this unflinching real-life horror movie. As the only criminologist working in El Salvador, he excavates abandoned wells now used as mass graves by the MS-13 and 18th Street gangs. Despite a truce, these blood rivals continue to “disappear” victims and have simply taken to hiding the bodies they once displayed publicly. Ticas has made finding the hundreds of missing victims his life’s work. He’s a man on a macabre mission who pastes gruesome photos of remains on his office walls in tribute and as a reminder that his search sadly stretches on. The relatives of the missing affectionately call him The Engineer. Gang members prefer “that old nosy &%$#@!” But Ticas sees himself as a man of science working within a broken system, performing a job he wishes didn’t exist at all. [Synopsis courtesy of Hot Docs]