“Cartel Land” wins doc prize at Moscow film fest

Matthew Heineman's Cartel Land has won the Best Documentary Award at the 37th Moscow International Film Festival. (Pictured: Cartel Land cinematographer Matt Porwoll)
July 7, 2015

Matthew Heineman’s Cartel Land has won the Best Documentary Award at the 37th Moscow International Film Festival (MIFF).

The film, lensed by Matt Porwoll (pictured), world premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January and is about vigilante groups fighting Mexican drug cartels. Due for release in North America via The Orchard, it was one of seven docs to screen in competition at MIFF. It’s produced by The Documentary Group and Our Films in association with Whitewater Films for A&E IndieFilms.

Twelve more docs screened in the festival’s Free Thought program, which showcases docs that have won major awards on the festival circuit over the course of the past year.

This year’s documentary jury was headed by Cinephil’s Philippa Kowarsky and included Russian docmaker Alexei Vakhrushev.

The audience award went to Jin Mo-young’s My Love Don’t Cross That River, which recently won the documentary prize at the Los Angeles Film Festival. The doc focuses on the final days of an elderly couple’s 76-year marriage.

Runners up for the audience award were Louie PsihoyosRacing Extinction, Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Look of Silence, Laura PoitrasCitizenfour  and Elena Laskari’s Larissa’s Crew, a competition film.

This year’s festival attracted 6,000 audience members and of those, 4,500 voted for the audience award, according to organizers. MIFF also hosted pitching sessions, the Moscow Co-Production Forum,  and roundtable talks and master classes devoted to documentary production and distribution.

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