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Mexico, Filming, Drugs and War

Mexico’s been very difficult to film in. This primarily due to the fact that there’s quite a bit of kidnapping (although targeted), the cartel violence has brought out increased petty crime and the military (good guys) tend to take a more liberal approach of shooting first and asking questions later. All this equals out to being very careful when you pull out any sort of camera.

The situation down here is very real war. Military rolls with fingers in triggers, the guy on the street corner is suspect if he’s got a cell phone, local law enforcement are banned from using cell phones because most are working for the cartels and having cell phones contribute to a network of communication on the ground. Miliary convoys roll 4 and 5 trucks deep with mounted guns. A recent statistic I heard since being here (still digging up source) says there have been more Americans killed in Mexico in the last two years (generally stray gunfire) than in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined.

I say this to highlight the challenges of filming in such an environment. At any point a camera is out the risk is much higher. To date, we’ve been spending most of our time indoors however I’ve been pulling the camera out as able while rolling down the street or walking through some of the public plazas in safer locations.

I would be highly motivated to produce a doc on the drug war down here, but finding someone who would be willing to risk their life living down here, asking questions, and filming things for six months would be another story. Even something as nebulous as looking at a few individuals and how this war has affected their businesses and lives…like the childrens’ school I was just at today. The individual’s tale is very different than the one the American media portrays.

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©2019 by Jay Friesen.

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