Filmmaker Bringing Documentary on Drug-Cartel Violence to Arizona

When independent filmmaker Charlie Minn saw the news of the Tucson shooting rampage on January 8, it drew an ominous likeness to what he's seen in Juarez, Mexico.

"What happened in Tucson a couple of Saturdays ago happens in Juarez every day," Minn says. "Every day."

Minn is unleashing a new documentary film, "8 Murders a Day," chronicling the violence in Juarez -- and in Mexico as a whole -- scheduled in Tempe and Tucson on February 25.

The film, named after the 3,111 Juarez murders in 2010 - eight per day - is "pretty much a 'State of the Union' of what's going on right now in Juarez and all of Mexico," Minn says.

Through a series of interviews with journalists, authors, and college professors, Minn paints the picture of a supposed turf war between the Juarez and Sinoloa drug cartels, and tries to make sense of the seemingly senseless violence.

"Supposedly the drug cartels split apart, and now they're fighting over this critical smuggling route through El Paso," Minn says. "I say 'supposedly' because none of these things are ever investigated."

Juarez was a city that saw less than one murder per day before newly elected President Felipe Calderon waged war against drug cartels in 2006. Minn thinks it's now akin to the Beltway sniper attacks in 2002, "Where at any moment, anyone can get shot in the head."

While the movie focuses on the violence in Juarez, Minn says he's taking aim at the drug cartels, which are not only terrorizing Mexico, but also drifting into the United States.

"The drug cartels have set up operations in over 200 U.S. cities," Minn says. "And I'm sure Arizona is a lot of that."

The murder rate in Juarez has tapered off to six per day thus far in 2011, but Minn says there's no guarantee it'll stay that way.

"I think the situation is going to get worse before it gets any better, because the corruption is three years deep," Minn says. "In my view it's the greatest human-rights disaster in the world today."

Arizonans can catch 8 Murders a Day at the Harkins Valley Art in Tempe and at the Harkins Spectrum 18 in Tucson beginning February 25.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley

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