CARTEL LAND's Protagonist Disavows Documentary, Considers Suing Filmmakers

José Manuel Mireles, the Mexican vigilante who was the subject of the Academy Award nominated film Cartel Land by American director Matthew Heineman, said today that he was unhappy with his portrayal in the film as they used images that he hadn't authorized, and that he was considering suing the production team. Mireles' remarks in a radio interview this morning in Mexico City were made five days after he was released from prison on bond.

Cartel Land intertwines the story of two separate cases of vigilantes in North America. The story of Tim "Nailer" Foley, leader of Arizona Border Recon, and Mireles, the physician who was the founder of a self-defense movement against the Knights Templar Cartel in the western state of Michoacán. Mireles had been jailed since June 2014 for carrying unauthorized weapons, and reportedly hadn't seen the film while in prison.

Mireles criticized the film production in two specific aspects: he argued that the filmmakers include aspects of his personal life without his consent, and he also argued that the original contract that he signed stated that the project was a non-profit venture, which he took as a way to promote his social cause, but was surprised to learn that the film was commercialized in multiplexes. 

Heineman film's premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival where it won the Best Director Award and Special Jury Award for Cinematography. The film was released in the U.S. by Orchard Films and broadcast on A&E, and was nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 88th Academy Awards.