RIO DE JANEIRO, May 12 (UPI) -- It isn't yet on a screen near you but California director Kathryn Bigelow's plans for a film on the notorious frontier region linking Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay have upset governments, culture vultures and, perhaps most dangerously of all, the crime gangs that hold sway over the area.
Aglow from her Oscar honors for "The Hurt Locker," Bigelow began preparations for a film that would spotlight the crime-ridden region shared by the three countries.
Titled "Triple Frontier," the film project homes in on the cities of Foz do Iguazu, Brazil; Ciudad del Este, Paraguay; and Puerto Iguazu, Argentina.
The authorities will have none of it.
Local officials also contested intelligence and law enforcement agencies' claims that the area, adjacent to the Iguazu Falls, was major international hub for narcotics trade and international terrorism linked to Islamic militant networks.
Some 20,000 residents of ethnic Arab origin were cited in the reports as harboring terror suspects, a claim denied by local governors and national governments of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.
Argentine Tourism Secretary Enrique Meyer said all three nations were angry with Bigelow, who has visited the area while researching locations and materials for the film.
Paraguayan Tourism Minister Liz Cramer called for denying Bigelow official cooperation.
"She has no idea of the bad reputation and damage she could cause with such a movie," Cramer said. "I've talked about this with Argentine Minister Meyer and Brazilian officials."
Meyer told the media he broached the subject with Cramer and the governor of Misiones, the Argentine border state in the Mesopotamia region.
"We all agreed that we were deeply angered when we discovered that this project seeks to negatively portray this region shared by three South American countries," Cramer said.
Bigelow wasn't immediately available to comment on future plans.
"The Hurt Locker," an Iraq war drama, won multiple Oscars, including Best Picture, and the BAFTA award for Best Film, and was nominated for the 2010 Golden Globe award for Best Drama. Bigelow is the first woman to win the Academy Award for Best Director plus other honors for her work as a director.
The film tells the story of an elite army bomb squad unit caught in a deadly game of survival in embattled Baghdad.
It isn't Bigelow's first film dealing with violence or horror but publicity about "Triple Frontier" since has only fed into a controversy about the frontier region that began a decade ago.
In 2002, and again in 2006, a U.S. Treasury Department memo mentioned "clear examples" of Islamic groups that were active in the region and could be financing terrorist activities.
Intelligence agencies cited Paraguay as particularly vulnerable to terror group incursions but the comments were rejected by all three bordering countries.