Movie producer Charlie Minn visits Amarillo College to promote his new film, Murder Capital of the World.
By PERLA ARELLANO
Film director Charlie Minn spent most of a week at Amarillo College to inform students about the unresolved murders that happen every day in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
Minn, who has made three films about Juarez, came to Amarillo to promote his recent documentary, Murder Capital of the World.
More than 60,000 people have died in Mexico since Mexican President Felipe Calderon declared a war on the drug cartels on Dec. 11, 2006. The murders in Juarez average eight per day while in El Paso, 300 feet from the city, the average rate is five murders for the entire year.
Crimes in Mexico are hardly ever reported by its citizens. “I think this is a direct discrimination against Mexican people,” Minn said.
“My films are meant to give the innocent Mexican people a voice.”
Minn, who spoke to several classes and groups the week of Sept. 3, said the reason he went to Mexico was to raise awareness of what was happening on the other side of the border.
Minn left some students with much to think about.
Lacy Gainey, a business administration major, said she did not know much of what was going on across the southern border, and after she saw some of the clips that Minn presented, she decided she was not going to Mexico.
“I would have wanted to see what it was like and everything, but once I saw that, I didn’t,” Gainey said.
Minn said he makes sure to show two specific clips to his audience. One of the clips shows a woman approaching Calderon, demanding justice for the death of her son, and another where a teacher films her kindergarten class as bullets are shot outside the building.
“If that doesn’t affect you in some way, then you have no blood in your veins,” Minn said. “It’s that simple.”
Alexandria Thompson, a pharmacy major, said the subject touched home.
“It’s made a connection between me and my sisters, and I would hate for them to be OK with hearing guns going off and seeing people killed,” Thompson said. “It’s not right.”
The United States is a big contributor to the drug war in Mexico, Minn said, with 90 percent of the weapons being used to kill Mexican people coming from the United States. Minn said the other way the Americans contribute to the war is by buying the drugs.
“If you’re taking an illegal drug and it came from Mexico, you are contributing to the war,” he said.
Minn said he feared for his life only when he stopped at a light in Juarez, since the city averages five carjackings a day.
The documentary premiered in Amarillo Sept. 7, and both Gainey and Thompson went to the United Artists Theater to see it.
“Go watch Murder Capital of the World,” Gainey said. “It’s disturbing, but good.”
Minn’s third film about the Juarez violence documents how the killing has decreased recently. He said he will donate money to victims from the film’s profits.