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The Orchard Acquires North American Theatrical Distribution Rights to Matthew Heineman’s Chilling Documentary “Cartel Land” from A&E IndieFilms

Feb 12, 2015

Sundance Award-Winner “Cartel Land” is Set to Hit Theaters in the Fall of 2015

Los Angeles, CA & New York, NY — February 12, 2015 — The Orchard has acquired North American theatrical and digital rights to Matthew Heineman’s CARTEL LAND. The deal comes on the heels of the film’s worldwide premiere at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, where Heineman received the Directing Award and Special Jury Award for Cinematography in U.S. Documentary Competition. The Orchard will release the film to theatrical audiences later this year.

CARTEL LAND has been a wild adventure to make and unfolded in a way that I could never have predicted,” says director/producer Matthew Heineman (Escape Fire, Our Time). “I’m thrilled that The Orchard has joined the team and will be bringing our story about the conflict between idealism and violence to a broad audience.”

CARTEL LAND is an impressive, dramatic film that takes hold and doesn’t let go until the final gripping moments,” says The Orchard’s Senior Vice President of Film and TV, Paul Davidson. “Having the opportunity to share Matt’s film with audiences and partner with A&E IndieFilms on the release is a rush for all of us.”

“After an incredible reception at Sundance, we are looking forward to partnering with The Orchard to share this captivating film with theatergoers around North America,” said Molly Thompson, Senior Vice President of A&E IndieFilms. “Matt’s brilliant film explores a world filled with fascinating characters and an unbelievable story with unexpected twists and turns.”

With unprecedented access, CARTEL LAND is a harrowing look at the journeys of two modern-day vigilante groups and their shared enemy – the murderous Mexican drug cartels.

Filmmaker Matthew Heineman embeds himself in the heart of darkness as Nailer, El Doctor, and the cartel each vie to bring their own brand of justice to a society where institutions have failed. CARTEL LAND is a chilling meditation on the breakdown of order and the blurry line between good and evil.

In the Mexican state of Michoacán, Dr. Jose Mireles, a small-town physician known as “El Doctor,” leads the Autodefensas, a citizen uprising against the violent Knights Templar drug cartel that has wreaked havoc on the region for years. Meanwhile, in Arizona’s Altar Valley – a narrow, 52-mile-long desert corridor known as Cocaine Alley – Tim “Nailer” Foley, an American veteran, heads a small paramilitary group called Arizona Border Recon, whose goal is to stop Mexico’s drug wars from seeping across our border.

The deal was negotiated by Danielle DiGiacomo of The Orchard and Linzee Troubh and John Sloss of Cinetic Media on behalf of the filmmakers.

CARTEL LAND is an A&E IndieFilms (The Imposter, The Tillman Story, The September Issue) presentation and a Documentary Group (Girl Rising, Operation Homecoming) and Our Time Projects (Escape Fire, Our Time) production in association with Whitewater Films. Tom Yellin produced on behalf of The Documentary Group, and Molly Thompson, Robert DeBitetto and David McKillop executive produced for A&E IndieFilms.


A&E IndieFilms is the feature documentary production arm of A+E Studios®. A&E IndieFilms is committed to developing the work of outstanding independent filmmakers and helping them reach the broadest possible audience. A&E IndieFilms commissions, produces and provides finishing funds for feature documentaries intended for co- branded theatrical release. Films include the 2006 and 2007 Academy Award nominees for Best Documentary Feature, Murderball and Jesus Camp; Nanette Burstein’s American Teen, which received the Directing Award at Sundance Film Festival; Amir Bar-Lev’s My Kid Could Paint That; R.J. Cutler’s The September Issue; Amir Bar-Lev’s 2012 Emmy Award-winning The Tillman Story; Alex Gibney’s 2011 PGA Award and DGA Award nominee Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer; Bart Layton’s BAFTA Award-winning The Imposter; and Mike Myers’ directorial debut, Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon.


The Orchard is a pioneering music, video and film distribution company and top-ranked Multi Channel Network operating in more than 25 global markets. With a holistic approach to sales and marketing combined with industry-leading technology and operations, The Orchard amplifies reach and revenue across hundreds of digital, physical and mobile outlets around the world. The Orchard streamlines content owners’ business complexity with an intuitive client dashboard, comprehensive rights management and tailored client support. Founded in 1997, The Orchard empowers businesses and creators in the entertainment industry. For further information, please visit