Angels at War: Miami Filmmaker Documents Mexican Students' Anti-Cartel Protests

Categories: Art
Angels at War
An unassuming group of young "angels" report for service wearing modest street clothes similar to that of their peers from Juarez, Mexico. Soon, however, they'll ditch their humble garb for elaborate DIY costumes, transforming from everyday teens and pre-teens to remarkable fearless champions of peace.

Unlike a great deal of the city's people, the group of 11 to 19-year-old boys and girls isn't affiliated with a drug cartel or on assignment from an organized crime kingpin.

These few "Messenger Angels," as the New York Times reported in 2011, are doing what many Juarenses have wanted to do for a long time; They're resisting the drug trade and speaking out against the senseless violence that makes Juarez one of the world's most dangerous cities.

It's working.

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"It started a few years ago," says Miami-based documentary filmmaker Joey Daoud. "All the supplies are either donated or found. Things like sheets that they turn into the robes, cardboard, feathers from pillows for the wings, and oil-based paint--which I'm sure is not healthy at all--and glitter to cover their face."

Daoud is co-producer and second shooter on Angels at War, an upcoming documentary about the young Juarez angels who are taking a bold stance against Mexico's on-going drug war. Together with New York-based director Jessica LaRusso and photojournalist Katie Orlinsky, the award-wining filmmaker spent 10 days last month capturing the church group's efforts to curb violence, corruption, sex trafficking and a myriad of other issues affecting the country's 113 million citizens.

"Some of them have had parents that have died in the drug war," Daoud says. "Some of them have parents who may have been affiliated cartels, then stopped and quit. But pretty much all of them know someone who has been killed."

Though crime in Juarez has dropped dramatically since it reaching its highest point in 2010, when 3,115 homicides were reported, according the Washington Post, the city's still struggling to end the bloodshed.

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