Page last updated at 06:51 GMT, Thursday, 3 September 2009 07:51 UK

Film-maker killed in El Salvador

Christian Poveda in September 2008
Christian Poveda was a film director and photojournalist

A French-Spanish film-maker who made a documentary about gang life in El Salvador has been shot dead there, officials say.

Christian Poveda, who was in his 50s, was found dead in a car north of the capital, San Salvador, police said.

His 2008 film La Vida Loca (The Crazy Life) followed the violent lives of members of the Mara 18 street gang.

Salvadorean President Mauricio Funes said he was shocked by Poveda's death and ordered a full police inquiry.

Poveda first came to El Salvador as a photographer in the 1980s to cover its civil war.

El Salvador

He returned in the 1990s to focus on the Central American country's street gangs.

According to local media reports quoted by Spanish news agency Efe, Poveda witnessed seven murders - three of them subjects of his film - in the course of making La Vida Loca.

The film has been shown at festivals in the US, Mexico, Spain and Cuba, as well as in El Salvador.

The Mara 18 and rival Mara Salvatrucha street gangs make up criminal networks stretching through Central America and into many US states.

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