Arts and Entertainment, third prize singles
November 6, 2010
Actor Fabian Lopez on set in Tijuana, playing the lead in the film El Baleado 2. A cloud of cocaine rises behind him in his office. Tijuana is a focal point of real-life drug wars raging in Mexico. The wars have inspired ‘narco cinema’, a B-movie genre dating back to the 1980s that has become increasingly violent in recent years. Formulaic and action-packed, the films have been accused of glamorizing the drug lords’ way of life, but reflect a world much of the audience recognizes. Narco cinema is enormously popular both in Mexico and with Mexicans living in the USA. Over 30 such narco movies are shot each year in Tijuana alone, and many actors achieve star status.
Fabio Cuttica speaks about the project:
"In November 2010, I begun to document the cinema production in Tijuana, Mexico. I focused my work on the production of movies that offer a representation of narco trafficking. In the last years, with the increase of violence due to conflicts among drug cartels, a cultural market (music, literature, movies) has developed that seeks to describe and tell some aspects of this conflict.
The winning picture, which is one of a series about narco cinema, was shot during the filming of the movie El Baleado 2. It was one of the last scenes, before the main character, actor Fabian Lopez in the role of Saul 'El Baleado' was shot to death. I worked on the set of El Baleado 2 film during a week. In the scene, 'El Baleado' leaves his office, shooting at the enemies that want revenge. In the background, a cloud of cocaine fills up the room. His face, drug crazed, is also cover by cocaine-like powder. That day was the last day of filming. It was a 20-hour, non-stop journey, at a set inside a house in Tijuana. It was a very tiring day, but really lucky, I will not forget it!"
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About the photographer
Born in Rome in 1973, Fabio Cuttica spent his childhood in Colombia and Peru, returning to Italy as a teenager. In 2001, having completed studies in photography at the European Institute of Design and Visual Arts in Rome, he became a staff photographer with Contrasto. Since then, Cuttica's work has focused mainly on cultural, social and political aspects of Latin America. His photos have appeared widely, in such publications as Stern, Geo Italia, l'Espresso, Il Corriere della Sera, The Sunday Times Magazine and others. Since 2010, Cuttica has been based in Tijuana, Mexico.