November 24, 2008
Colombia Frontline Blog
Watch the program: Part 1 - Part 2

Colombia is like a gold mine for reporters; it had been my long-time ambition to make a film there.

It was a lonely and time-consuming process that required a lot of patience. Once I made the contacts, it took me almost two years to really gain their trust and be able to use them for my investigation.

There were very tense moments of fear and adrenaline during the shoot. I was filming with a hidden camera and I knew that I was lost if I was exposed.

I didn’t have fancy equipment at my disposal. I just put together a basic device with a small mike and a Webcam lens attached to the inside of my shirt. It was connected to the mini dvcam hidden underneath my coat. Sometimes, I’d have to shift the lens while filming. To get this right, I trained for hours in front of the mirror, learning how to frame almost blind. I would film myself and adjust the system to get it as perfect as possible. (I also wanted to leave evidence in my hotel room before each trip.)

I made sure I knew my way around the location before each appointment.

I was obsessed about the way my interviewees looked at me. I was nervous about the smallest details. I think it was the scariest time in my entire career because there was no way out if anything had gone wrong. I believe I was extremely lucky.

I only fully realized the risks I’d taken once I started the edit.


From Producer, Thierry Gaytan
Thierry,

Thank you for sharing your experiences. I have always wondered what you guys go through to get these amazing stories. Admittedly it is a potentially life threatening situation, to say the least. It fascinates me, the process that you must go through. You must be incredibly patient!

Surely you were fortunate to come out with your story and camera (and youself) intact. Thank goodness. When can we expect to see your piece and will it be aired on CNN Domestic or just on CNN/I?

Thanks again - great blog!
Justo me levante y al ver CNN no podia creer lo que estaba viendo desde este sitio tan remoto donde estoy, Gabon.

Como colombiano senti mucha tristeza de lo que vi...pero es la cruda realidad de mi pais como productor y exportador de Cocaina.

La historia es muy objetiva.

Felicitaciones


Carlos Lievano
When can we watch the program?
I am totally upset about this documentary. It is so bias and limited that creates many, many false perceptions of the drug problem in Colombia and the world... there is no decent balance of the problem we have to endure when it comes to illegal drug money fueling PARAMILITARISM as much as guerrillas. Money laundery, 4000% higher during the current government is not even considered in this limited documentary. Now it is not "untold story" AT ALL.. THIS IS URIBE¨GOVERNMENT DISCOURSE!!!! EVERYFAY!! HELLOOOO WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO CNN!!!!???????
don't buy it... very bias and unfortunately very, very driven to maintain the common mistakes about drugs in Colombia... thinking that they ONLY support guerrillas when in fact government, militaries, and paramilitaries are at the core of the business... think, please, think!!
hey man,
u did a fabulous job man...
m realy lukin forward for ths film whch u hav shooted....
bst of luk man....
Colombia is a dichotomy of worlds: one contaminated and twisted by drugs - fueled by world demand - and the other just a reflection of normal society that anyone could relate to.

Documentaries like this often require risk taking but they only show one side of the story.That should always be remembered.

To read (in spanish) about more normal daily life that you could probably more easily relate to go to:

http://www.barriosdebogota.com

There you will see what really is happening on the ground - day to day!

Noticias de Bogota, Colombia
MR. GAYTAN... When will you start your reports in MEXICO?... Well done...
How stupid to say that, if you really want to film action why do not you go to watts in Los Angeles or in the Bronx, the most violent country is the USA paradoxically, talk about the gangs and all of the junkies,
Which go on in the main cities of the States the homeless oh boy you have a lot to do back home.
Colombia has the most beautiful places on planet earth, and naturally we are not an exception to violence but the way we are, in terms of good life are far away better than over the USA.
What a pile of u know,

Alfonso
i have been in and out of Colombia from 1986 to date and i know they have killed or inprison 13 of the top drug loards in there country .

what has the U.S. done along the same lines ?.

nothing comparied to the government of colombia and what they have done , and the hundreds of police and military that lost there lives in doing so .

they are the only country in the south that rae doing something about it .

BRASIL WOULD BE AS BETTER TOPIC

If you want a story look to brasil and how they have taken pravite boats , kept kidnapt children from there US parent .
drugs , sex of miniors , sex tours .

then you would have a storie worth telling , and i know a ton of them .

but if you did this you would loose your film equipment , and spend time in jail as it is a fedrail law that if you speak bad or insult the people of the government or country you can be fined or jailed .

KEEP TELLING THE STORIE
but look at it from booth sides
Well........here in Colombia we produce the best quality drug and where are the earns?.....where are the USA drug lords?.....USA gives money and guns but to your drug people, just give ill treatment!!!!!......the drug is just another VERY GOOD b u s i n e s s but, with many faces.
Gracias
who buy,s those choppers ?
who gives mony for these stupid miletary camps
the most dumb country in the world
USA !!!
get a life
get bank robbed

nice film but it does not gives you a clear vieuw of what is going on in colombia

so again

burn amerika
with the chevy,s

bye
Excellent...
This what one of my students tought about your work..

CNN - WORLD´S UNTOLD STORIES
VIDEOS : COLOMBIA FRONTLINE BLOG

Any foreigner journalists and reporters love to be thought as heros, since they had made documentaries and videos about the Colombian narcotrafic, smugle drogs and terrorism. The negative view from Colombia.
They win premiums and recognition for their investigations over this matter.
These reporters and journalists have not thought that their countries, are the most important consumers of cocaín and drugs in the world, and while it exist demand it will be produced.
Thousand young people are either smugle drogs or consumers, not only foreign but also Colombianos, moreover, they wish to earn money easy and quickly and if it is possible without working.
Now that, other countries like Mexico, have a head start over us, with these topics. They want to be thought what we are like.
These videos seem ridiculous to me, Colombia have the most important investigations regarding these themes, they had made by Colombian Journalists and Reportes (like Pirry).
I suggest that they must search them inside of their countries before doing it in other continent´s countries.
Besides, there are not solutions over this problems.
If it is true that the governments work in this problems, indeed it is not enought
Finally I say: If there are consumers , there will be producers too.
ABOUT THIS BLOG
World’s Untold Stories showcases courageous correspondents telling intimate stories of society's most vulnerable people. Often gritty, always powerful tales that open our eyes to a world that is at times disturbing and captivating. Storytelling that is raw and unyielding in its impact. World’s Untold Stories will bring the viewer tales from all corners of the world, and shine light on activities almost never exposed.

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