Death by a Thousand Cuts | Denver Film Society | Juan Mejia Botero | Jake Kheel | USA

Death by a Thousand Cuts

Juan Mejia Botero, Jake Kheel

Spanish, CreoleEnglish SubtitlesUSA201673 min

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Overview

The brutal murder of a park ranger by a Haitian cutting trees in a protected Dominican forest entangles us in an all-too-familiar conflict over resources that fuels ethnic and international tensions.

In this deliberative documentary, the leitmotif of a map of Hispaniola island locates us in towns on both sides of the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, where directors Juan Mejia Botero and Jake Kheel meet with relatives holding pictures of the ranger’s mutilated body and follow their fruitless inquiries into the investigation. Activists, officials and the small-time charcoal makers whose desperation to feed their families drives the conflict round out the story.

The camera swoops down the island, from lush Dominican forests to encroaching Haitian scrub, as the filmmakers interweave evidence of government complicity in the systemic desertification with a consideration of the profound consequences for both countries.

Producer: Jake Kheel, Ben Selkow | Editor: Adriana Pacheco | Cinematographer: Juan Carlos Castañeda

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