English and Russian with English subtitles, 2013, 94 minutes, color, U.S.A., Russia, World Documentary
When he was arrested in 2008 in Thailand as a result of a U.S. government sting operation, the career of internationally known arms smuggler Viktor Bout came to a decisive end. Veiled by the obscurity of post-Soviet Russia, Bout had built an empire of aerial delivery so vast he was called “the merchant of death” and was even the subject of a Hollywood film. In sharp contrast to the widely known, supervillain persona, however, was another Bout: a philosophical businessman who simply enjoyed travel, his work, his family, and filming it all with his video camera.
Taking advantage of extraordinary access, including years of Bout’s personal videos and his words from prison, directors Tony Gerber and Maxim Pozdorovkin paint a portrait of one of the most enigmatic figures of our time. Moments both comical and harrowing depict Bout’s rise and fall up close and from his decidedly cheery point of view, but there is always something more sinister just outside the frame. - S.S.
About the Directors
With Jesse Moss, Tony Gerber directed Full Battle Rattle about life inside the U.S. Army’s Iraq simulation; the film won a Special Jury Prize at SXSW in 2008. Gerber is a two-time Emmy Award recipient and has directed dozens of documentaries for the National Geographic Society in some of the world's most remote regions. The Notorious Mr. Bout is his third film to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.
Raised in Moscow, Maxim Pozdorovkin is a director and writer based in New York. He holds a PhD from Harvard University. His last film, Pussy Riot—A Punk Prayer, premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and won a Special Jury Prize. His first feature documentary, Capital, is a city symphony film about the construction of Astana, a utopian city in the center of Kazakhstan.
Cast and Credits
Directors: Tony Gerber, Maxim Pozdorovkin
Producers: Tony Gerber, Maxim Pozdorovkin
Executive Producers: Nick Fraser, Lynn Nottage, Kate Townsend
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