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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    ‘The tragedy in Tucson happens every day in Juarez’

    Charlie Minn

    In the last three years, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, has seen thousands die in its streets, as drug cartels and gang violence have taken the lives of men, women and children. It is a story of human rights violations that filmmaker Charlie Minn said must be told.

    And he’s telling it, starting this Friday at Tucson Spectrum 18, in his documentary “”8 Murders a Day.””

    Minn began documentary work in September 2009 with “”A Nightmare in Las Cruces.”” Working on the film, which details the unsolved robbery and execution-style shooting of seven people in a bowling alley in New Mexico, Minn interacted with people affected by the perpetual violence in Juarez. This inspired him to investigate further.

    “”Juarez is about to lose a whole generation of people,”” Minn said. “”The victims and the criminals are getting younger and younger (and) … every night there’s about seven or eight people in Mexico with a hole in their head.””

    Just south of El Paso, Texas, Juarez is a 1.5 million-person city known as the murder capital of the world (outside active war zones). The homicide rate in Juarez is 229 killings per 100,000 inhabitants, around 32 times more dangerous than New York City.

    “”I was disappointed in myself that I didn’t know more about it,”” Minn said.

    The documentary, filmed from October to December 2010, illustrates “”one of the great human rights disasters in the world today,”” he said.

    “”We weren’t on a 30-day budget and Tom Hanks wasn’t on the film,”” Minn said. “”It’s an independent film at its heart … (and) if this movie wasn’t called ‘8 Murders a Day,’ it’d be called ‘No Justice,’ because the corruption in Juarez is extreme.””

    The documentary mixes real-life interviews with still shots pulled from local law enforcement agencies to show a situation Minn said isn’t like anything out there but should be understood by more people than just those around the El Paso-Juarez area.

    “”It’s graphic, it’s real, it tells the story accurately. It isn’t the easiest film to watch, but it’s real. It resonates to the entire country,”” Minn said. “”This is not the Middle East; this is happening right at our doorstep, and it’s spilling over.””

    After selling out crowds in Texas and debuting the film in Phoenix, Minn hopes people feel the same shock that he did at not knowing of the tragedy in Juarez, and that they care about how it affects their lives.

    “”I just hope they aren’t going to see the movie coming out and say ‘It’s far away,'”” Minn said. “”The tragedy in Tucson, it should be recognized to the extent it was, but that happens every day in Juarez.””


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