Institute History

  • 2020 Sundance Film Festival


Academy Award–nominated and Emmy Award–winning filmmaker Matthew Heineman (Cartel Land, 2015 Sundance Film Festival) is known for investigating subjects others would rather stay away from. Whether he tackles drug cartels or the opioid crisis, he remains a thoughtful, unbiased observer whose unparalleled access is both fascinating and unnerving. Here, Heineman’s focus is on human trafficking and migrant communities seeking a safer existence. We follow migrants from Central America on their journey to the United States (and back home after deportation), the people who get paid outrageous amounts of money to attempt to smuggle them across the border, and those who try to obstruct these illicit and often deadly activities. The Trade is a timely, character-driven, emotional study on human vulnerability, exploitation, and fear, exposing some very bleak aspects of the American Dream and the fate of people who have no choice but to chase it.

The Festival is proud to present two gripping and in-depth episodes of this eye-opening continuation of the Showtime docuseries.

— A.T.

Screening Details

  • Section: Special Events
  • Film Type: Episodic
  • Country: U.S.A.
  • Language: English and Spanish
  • Run Time: 103 min.
As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]