Cartel Land, Matthew Heineman’s award-winning documentary about Mexican drug cartels, has a new executive producer: Kathryn Bigelow. The Oscar-winning director has been added to the film’s credits before its limited release in theaters on July 3.
“This is filmmaking at its most potent, raw and visceral,” Bigelow said in a statement to EW. “Cartel Land invites you into the drug war and the unimaginable horror at its heart. A brilliant and cogent object lesson for all who want to stay informed. This is a powerful and important film of which I am proud to be a part.”
Cartel Land debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January, scoring rave reviews and winning two awards from the fest’s jury (Directing Award and Special Jury Award for Cinematography). The film was acquired by The Orchard for theatrical release, first in New York on July 3 and then Los Angeles on July 10. An expansion to select cities around the country will follow. (VICE Media, “the world’s leading youth media company and digital content studio,” will partner with The Orchard to promote Cartel Land nationwide.)
“With unprecedented access, Cartel Land is a riveting, on-the-ground look at the journeys of two modern-day vigilante groups and their shared enemy –- the murderous Mexican drug cartels,” reads the film’s synopsis. “In the Mexican state of Michoacán, Dr. Jose Mireles, a small-town physician known as “El Doctor,” leads the Autodefensas, a citizen uprising against the violent Knights Templar drug cartel that has wreaked havoc on the region for years. Meanwhile, in Arizona’s Altar Valley -– a narrow, 52-mile-long desert corridor known as Cocaine Alley -– Tim “Nailer” Foley, an American veteran, heads a small paramilitary group called Arizona Border Recon, whose goal is to stop Mexico’s drug wars from seeping across our border. Filmmaker Matthew Heineman embeds himself in the heart of darkness as Nailer, El Doctor, and the cartel each vie to bring their own brand of justice to a society where institutions have failed.”
Check out an exclusive new poster for Cartel Land below.