International Competition

Cartel Land

Matthew Heineman
Screening time  
23.02. / Tuesday, 20:00 - 22:00 Theatre 4  
24.02. / Wednesday, 14:00 - 16:00 Theatre 4  
27.02. / Saturday, 22:00 - 00:00 Theatre 4  
Risking his life, filmmaker Matthew Heineman follows two groups fighting the cartels.

Every year the death toll rises in the drug war along the Mexican-American border. The government cannot guarantee safety in the border region, and some inhabitants see no alternative but to take matters into their own hands. Risking his life, filmmaker Matthew Heineman follows two groups fighting the cartels. On the Mexican side, the charming doctor Jose Mireles and his autodefensas hunt gang members; back in the United States, veteran and former drug addict Tim “Nailer” Foley tracks Mexican immigrants and smugglers in the inhospitable desert of Arizona, then hands them over to the authorities. Heineman penetrates deep into the shadowy world of organized crime. We watch masked men make crystal meth, experience frenetic gunfights and gain insight into the personal lives of the vigilantes. Their objective is to fight crime, but in the heat of battle, morals get lost and the line between good and evil isn’t always clear.


Matthew Heineman

Matthew Heineman is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker based in New York. He directed and produced Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare, which premiered at Sundance 2012. Heineman previously collaborated for two years with a team at HBO on the groundbreaking, Emmy-nominated HBO series, The Alzheimer's Project. He also directed and produced documentary Our Time.  

General sponsor

Cartel Land

USA, Mexico
2015, 98'

Directed by:
Matthew Heineman

Matthew Heineman, Matt Porwoll

Edited by:
Matthew Heineman, Matthew Hamachek, Bradley J. Ross, Pax Wassermann

H. Scott Salinas, Jackson Greenberg

Tom Yellin

Produced by:
The Documentary Group, Our Time Projects

Festivals & Awards:

Sundance Film Festival 2015 – Cinematography Award Documentary, Directing Award Documentary; Academy Awards 2016 – Nominated for the Best Documentary Feature Award; Sheffield Doc/Fest 2015 – Tim Hetherington Award; Reykjavik International Film Festival 2015 – Audience Award; Moscow International Film Festival 2015 – Silver St. George Best Film of the Documentary Competition; New Hampshire Film Festival 2015 – Best Documentary Film