Narco Cultura (2103): Timely Documentary

Directed and shot by photojournalist Shaul Schwarz, Narco Cultura offers a look at the Mexican drug cartels’ pop culture influence on both sides of the border.

Despite the rate of cartel-related murders in Mexico, narco-traffickers represent the models of fame and success to a growing number of Mexicans and Latinos. A popular new phenomenon has emerged from the bloodshed, making stars out of musicians whose “narcocorridas” portray the traffickers as glamorous outlaws.

Filmmaker Shaul Schwarz spent years as a photographer documenting the drug violence in Juárez, Mexico. As he follows these musicians through their performances and their commissions by gangsters wanting to achieve fame with their own theme songs, he explores the most devastating aspects of the drug wars—the death and destruction.

The personal stories of an LA-based narcocorrido singer and a crime scene investigator on the murderous streets of Juárez further illuminate this disturbingly glorified conflict.

NARCO CULTURA premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and was featured in the 2013 Berlin International Film Festival, as well as Hot Docs and Fantastic Fest. Cinedigm will release the film theatrically on November 8 in Los Angeles and New York with a national rollout to follow.