The amazing documentary Restrepo follows a troop of American soldiers in one of the most violent areas of Afghanistan. Directed by Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger, Restrepo won the documentary Grand Jury Prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival before going on to an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Feature.
When I watched the film, I kept wondering about the safety of the people involved with its creation. They weren't just reporting on a war-torn situation, they were right in the thick of it with the soldiers.
Today in just-breaking news, reports are coming out that Tim Hetherington has been killed an explosion in the Libyan city of Misurata.
At least three other photojournalists are reported to have been injured in the blast, which is believed to have been caused by an RPG. Rebel forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi have been attacking Misurata for several weeks.
Less than three days ago, Hetherington tweeted about the status of the region he was covering:
Hetherington was an esteemed photojournalist who spent over a year on assignment for Vanity Fair in the most dangerous areas of Afghanistan with journalist Sebastian Junger. The two eventually created Restrepo to document their experiences.
A year ago Hetherington told Movieline,
We’re storytellers, and we’re also pretty good at telling stories at the extreme edges. That’s what I do. I would love to tell a story about the rain forest in the Amazon, but the reality is that for the last ten years, that’s not what I’ve been doing. […] And if you’ve invested 10 years of life into it or more, then you want to kind of make something, or reach a point where you’ve distilled something. And I really feel that Restrepo is a distillation of what I’ve learned about war, and what I’ve seen of war.
What a loss. My condolences to his family, and the families of the other photographers involved in this incident.
In Hetherington's honor, here's a look at his film—I recommend renting it if you haven't had a chance to do so.
Image via YouTube