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Filmmaker Shaul Schwarz talks ‘Narco Cultura’

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Filmmaker Shaul Schwarz recently spoke with “Breakthrough Entertainment” and Phoenix Movie Examiner about his new documentary “Narco Cultura.”

In “Narco Cultura,” which opens Friday, Dec. 6, Schwarz looks at the explosive phenomenon in which narco traffickers have become iconic outlaws and the new models of fame and success, representing a pathway out of the ghetto - a new form of the American Dream, fueled by the war on drugs.

Listen to “Breakthrough Entertainment” and Phoenix Movie Examiner's full interview with Schwarz by clicking on the image in the upper left-hand corner of this article. The following is an excerpt from the interview in which the filmmaker discusses his level of fear while making “Narco Cultura.”

I was scared many times while making this movie. We expected Juarez to be dangerous - and it was. People get very suspicious. We rode around with CSI units and would get out of the van as non-Mexican civilians with recording gear in our hands and the cartels are literally everywhere. People would so commonly whisper, ‘Who is that? Stop doing what you're doing!’

I really think that eight out of 10 times we we would go out we would not be able to film. And you have to respect that. It is so dangerous. Your life could literally be on the line within a split-second if you make a wrong decision. So we couldn't just say, ‘Well I have a right to film here. I'm on public land.’ ‘No’ was really ‘no’ on this film and we took it seriously.

But what surprised us is that we got such great access from the other side of the movie. We followed the Los Angeles-based band Buknas de Culiacan. We didn't expect that to get too scary. Sure, it is quite an edgy club scene, but we got so close and more and more connected to the actual trafficking world.

The access that we got through the band was very unique - especially on the trip to Mexico. We got very close to the belly of the beast. And that was scary. It was not your regular access into the drug war and I certainly knew what I was trying to do when we took the decision to take the trip but I won't lie - I was scared.” - Shaul Schwarz

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