Coming to theatres today, Friday, March 2:
Hot Docs, Denver, Hamptons, GlobeDocs, Stockholm, Vancouver
A portrait of Chris Hondros, an acclaimed photojournalist who was killed in the same mortar blast that claimed the life of Tim Hetherington.
Chris Hondros was killed in 2011 in Libya while covering the civil war there. His best friend and fellow journalist, Greg Campbell, directs this portrait, having been on that same trip with Chris but leaving just a few days before his death. The film incorporates interviews conducted with Hondros reflecting on his challenging career and what drives him, together with interviews with his mother, Inge, a German WWII refugee; his fiancee Christina; fellow photojournalists, who had both experienced kidnapping while on the job; plus several others who speak of the dangers of combat photojournalism and of Chris’ character. Campbell also draws on video of Hondros in the field, opening in Liberia in 2003 while Chris is literally dodging bullets, and ending with his coverage of the Libyan conflict, and its tragic consequences. Two of the subjects of Chris’ iconic photographs are also featured: Joe, a Liberian fighter who Hondros captured midjump while protecting a bridge; and Samar, who was photographed as a toddler crying after the accidental shooting by US military of a car containing her family, killing both of her parents. The aftermath of these images – for those within them and for Hondros himself – is examined in a not wholly successful thread which follows Campbell as he tries to track down Joe and Samer. Like other similar projects on slain combat journalists, like the Hetherington-focused WHICH WAY IS THE FRONT LINE FROM HERE? or JIM: THE JAMES FOLEY STORY, this elegaic film is its strongest when focused on Hondros himself, via the ample archival footage showing him in his element, compelled to bear witness to war and to capture its difficult yet unforgettable images.