Thursday, September 3, 2009

Filmmaker Killed in El Salvador

The AP is reporting this morning that Christian Poveda, the French/Spanish director of the documentary "La Vida Loca" was found murdered in a car in El Salvador. Police said he was shot execution style, presumably the victim of the gang violence he exposed in his film.

Poveda had a distinguished, 30-year career as a photojournalist and wrote for a variety of publications including Time and Newsweek magazines, Paris Match and Figaro, from posts in Latin America, Iran and Iraq, Sierra Leone and the Philippines.

"La Vida Loca" recently won the Memory Award at the Guadalajara Film Festival and is slated to be shown at the upcoming San Sebastian and Havana Film Festivals.

The film focuses on gang members who served time in U.S. prisons and, due to new sentencing laws in the late 90's, were deported back to El Salvador. Some of them had spent almost their entire life in the U.S. If you're interested in this fascinating subject, check out this FREE podcast of This American Life. It features a first-person account of a former, L.A. gang member's life in El Salvador.

UPDATE 9-5-09: A suspect in the murder of Cristian Poveda was arrested Thursday. The only information police provided was that he was a member of the Mara 18 gang. It is unclear if he has been charged with the crime or the extent of his involvement.

UPDATE 9-11-09: After the initial arrest of one suspect on September 5th, six more gang members and a police officer have been taken into custody and charged with Cristian Poveda's murder. The name of the first suspect was revealed to be Lazo Rivera. He allegedly ordered the hit. Four of the men who were subsequently arrested were members of Rivera's gang: Mara 18. The police officer's involvement is not known. Read the CNN article.