Death by a Thousand Cuts – Feb. 9

On Thursday, February 9th, at 7pm at the Emerson Center, The Bozeman Doc Series will present the Montana premiere of the award-winning new documentary, Death by a Thousand Cuts.

In 2012, Eligio Eloy Vargas, alias Melaneo, a Dominican Park Ranger in the Sierra de Bahoruco National Park, was found brutally murdered. At the time, he was believed to have been on patrol investigating an illegal charcoal production site often run by Haitians coming across the border into protected Dominican forests. In Death by a Thousand Cuts, this murder becomes the metaphor for the larger story of increasing tension between Haiti and the Dominican Republic over illicit charcoal exploitation and the resulting mass deforestation.

Death by a Thousand Cuts is a double investigation, into both the circumstances of Melaneo’s death and the systematic eradication of the Dominican forests. The film interweaves the many sides of the story of Melaneo’s murder told through his Haitian wife Calina, brother Chichi, local reporter Luis Medrano and a Haitian Nené working as a Dominican park ranger, all representing different perspectives on a complex socio-political issue. Deforestation cuts deeply across the economic, social and security fabric of both countries and has far-reaching consequences that are largely unrecognized in either nation. A powerful exposé, the film reveals a tangled web of desperation, maneuvering and corruption worthy of a crime novel, and the toll it takes on the people and landscape of both countries.

Death by a Thousand Cuts world-premiered at the Hot Docs Film Festival and has gone on to screen at prestigious festivals around the world, winning the Grand Jury Prize at the Seattle International Film Festival.

“A haunting and heartbreaking work of investigative filmmaking.” Seattle International Film Festival Jury

“Beautifully filmed…Death by a Thousand Cuts surges forward, propelled by an evocative score. It’s a captivating film that shows links between environmental destruction and social catastrophe.” POV Magazine

“I encourage you to watch it for the outstanding cinematography alone — but, more importantly, to better understand what the terrible combination of vanishing natural resources and stark economic inequity means for some of the world’s most vulnerable people.” Aura Bogado, Grist

Doors open at 6:30 pm. Tickets are available at the door or before the show at Cactus Records and Movie Lovers. Tickets are also available online at, where you can also buy Season Passes and 7-film punch cards, learn more about the series, and view trailers for upcoming films. The series will continue every other Thursday through April.