English and Russian with English subtitles, 2013, 94 minutes, color, U.S.A., Russia
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.
Directors: Tony Gerber, Maxim Pozdorovkin
Producers: Tony Gerber, Maxim Pozdorovkin
Executive Producers: Nick Fraser, Lynn Nottage, Kate Townsend
Editors: Ars Troitski, Pax Wassermann
Co-producers: Innbo Shim, Pax Wasserman
Music: Will Bates
Animators: Caitlin Craggs, Angela Stempel