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Watch: ‘Cartel Land’ Director Matthew Heineman Opens Up About Filming in an Active War Zone

Watch: 'Cartel Land' Director Matthew Heineman Opens Up About Filming in an Active War Zone

READ MORE: Highlights From Award-Winning ‘Cartel Land’ Director Matthew Heineman’s Reddit AMA

Cartel Land” examines the Mexican drug cartel conflict, looking specifically at the tension between the native Autodefensa movement and an American paramilitary group called Arizona Border Recon. Discussing the surprising complexity of what he expected to be a classic black hat vs. white hat situation, director Matthew Heineman sat down with Thompson on Hollywood’s Anne Thompson for the International Documentary Association’s (IDA) screening series.

During their chat, Heineman revealed some of the specific challenges of shooting in an active conflict zone, something that Heineman said he felt compelled to do after making more passive documentaries in the past. In addition to the practical difficulties, Heineman said that he was surprised by the ways the characters in his film defied his expectations, explaining that the cartel conflict is even more complicated than he knew.

“Cartel Land” is expected to be a major awards contender. Check out the full IDA highlights.

On Scaring His Parents

Why Mexico Feels Like the Wild West

On Keeping His Characters Complex

READ MORE: ‘Cartel Land’ Director on How to Insert Yourself Into Dangerous and Impossible Situations

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