Two directors share practical tips for preparing to film on the front lines of international conflict.
Filming in war zones has been a badge of honor among photojournalists and documentarians for as long as it’s been possible, but it’s also dangerous and potentially even deadly, as the documentary community was reminded of in recent years with the tragic loss of Sundance-winning Restrepo director Tim Hetherington who was killed while covering the Libyan civil war.
And yet, intrepid storytellers keep on entering these situations. So how does one prepare for such a production, both practically and emotionally? My two guests today can help answer these questions from recent personal experiences. Nathan Fitch embedded with the US Military in Afghanistan for his film Island Soldier, and Daniel McCabe filmed amidst various factions of the Congolese civil war for six years for his documentary This is Congo.
"At the end of the day, you have a frame in front of you to help absorb some of your anxiety and fear."
In this episode, I spoke with the two directors before their films screened at America’s largest documentary festival, DOC NYC, about their experiences and the advice they have about what gear makes sense to bring into a conflict situation and how to shoot while you’re literally being shot at.
Listen to the episode by streaming or downloading from the embedded player above, or find it on iTunes here.