Behind the Blood

Still1A young anthropologist teams up with a local pastor in Honduras to intervene in a violent conflict between two of the world’s biggest criminal gangs; the MS13 and the Barrio18. The gangs are behind much of the violence that lies at the root of a mass exodus to the US.
Despite millions of dollars going into the region aimed at stopping bloodshed and migration, every year 200 thousand Central Americans still attempt to enter the United States. Behind the Blood sheds light on one of today’s deadliest and ignored conflicts.

The story centers around two men with a clear mission; to bring peace to one of the world’s most violent neighborhoods. Juan Jose Martinez is a bearded, pierced and tattooed 29-year-old anthropologist who himself grew up among gang violence. Juan is considered a leading expert on their internal dynamics. His expertise is sought by both national and U.S intelligence agencies. With Juan we will enter the gang infested neighborhood called La Rivera Hernandez, a place in the north of Honduras in the city of San Pedro Sula. It is considered the most violent place in the world outside a war zone. The territory of La Rivera is fought over by six gangs, including the prolific Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) and the Barrio 18 (B18). This is where we meet our second main character; pastor Daniel Pacheco, who is spearheading his own intervenEon effort. A carpenter by profession, the Pastor is a single father and sole provider for two young children and his parents who lives among the gangs. He has dedicated all of his free time to pacifying his neighborhood through dialogues and projects with gang members.

Loretta van der Horst is a journalist, investigator and all round storyteller. With an M.A. in Conflict Studies and Human Rights from Utrecht University and an M.A. in news and documentary journalism from New York University Over the past few years she has worked on reports for broadcasters including Discovery Channel, Channel 4 (UK) and Al Jazeera. In 2013 she was nominated for an Emmy for a short film she co-directed for PBS. In 2014 she was nominated for a News Emmy again, this time as producer in the category ‘Outstanding Investigative Journalism in Spanish,’.

“My aim is not only to tell compelling stories, but to maximize the social impact of my work by combining these two disciplines.” Loretta van der Horst.

Original title
Behind the Blood 
Running time
90 minutes
HD video
Screen Ratio
Dutch broadcaster
Year of release
Loretta van der Horst
Wout Conijn