Death By a Thousand Cuts

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Dominican Republic | 2016 | 73 minutes | Juan Mejia Botero, Jake Kheel

The violently charged relationship between the Dominican Republic and Haiti when it comes to natural resources is analyzed through the murder investigation of a Dominican park ranger by a Haitian charcoal producer.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

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6:00 PM Date has passed LLimited Availability Directors Jake Kheel and Juan Meija Botero scheduled to attend

Friday, June 10, 2016

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On January 8, 2012, a Dominican park ranger, Eligio Eloy Vargas—known to friends and family as Melaneo—was found brutally murdered by machete in the Sierra de Bahoruco National Park. At the time, he was believed to have been on patrol investigating an illegal charcoal production site run by Haitians coming across the border into protected Dominican forests. Melaneo's murder soon became emblematic of increasing tensions between the two countries (who share the Caribbean island of Hispaniola) over illicit charcoal exploitation and mass deforestation—the murder weapon itself being the same tool used to chop down thousands of Dominican trees. Death By a Thousand Cuts investigates the systematic eradication of the Dominican forests and how those circumstances contributed to Melaneo's killing. As with many global struggles for natural resources, the fight for survival has led to scapegoating and xenophobia, fueled by recent anti-immigration policies passed by the Dominican Republic. Through interviews with Melaneo's wife, his brother, and other locals along the border, filmmakers Juan Mejia Botero and Jake Kheel explore how the lives of Dominicans and Haitians are enveloped in a complex web of interdependent relationships and the far-reaching socioeconomic consequences deforestation has wrought upon both countries.

Director Biography
Juan Mejia Botero is an award-winning film director with over a decade of experience in feature-length and short documentaries. His work has focused primarily on human rights, activism, grassroots media, and collaborative documentaries.

Sponsored by Muckleshoot Tribe, The Seattle Times

  • Original Language Title: Muerte por Mil Cortes
  • Director: Juan Mejia Botero, Jake Kheel
  • Premiere Status: US Premiere
  • Country: Dominican Republic, Haiti, USA
  • Year: 2016
  • Running Time: 73 minutes
  • Producer: Ben Selkow, Jake Kheel
  • Cinematographers: Juan Carlos Castañeda
  • Editors: Adriana Pacheco
  • Music: Daniel Miller
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Filmography: Debut Feature Film
  • Language: Spanish, Kreyol
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP
  • International Sales: Cinephil