WHICH WAY IS THE FRONT LINE FROM HERE?
THE LIFE AND TIME OF TIM HETHERINGTON,
A MOVING PORTRAIT OF THE ACCLAIMED WAR PHOTOGRAPHER AND
FILMMAKER, DEBUTS APRIL 18 ON HBO
Sebastian Junger, Who Co-Directed The Oscar®-Nominated
“Restrepo” With Hetherington, Directs
On April 20, 2011, shortly after the release of his Oscar®-nominated documentary “Restrepo,” photographer and filmmaker Tim Hetherington was killed by mortar fire in Misrata, Libya, where he’d been covering the civil war. His death ended a brilliant ten-year career in which he covered such dramatic stories as the conflicts in Liberia and Afghanistan, but also transcended the conventional boundaries of image-making to become one of the most important journalists of his generation.
Illuminating the risks of the combat journalist’s profession, WHICH WAY IS THE FRONT LINE FROM HERE? THE LIFE AND TIME OF TIM HETHERINGTON chronicles his work on the battlefield to reveal what made him such a singular talent, and a remarkable human being. Hetherington’s close friend Sebastian Junger (“The Perfect Storm”), who co-directed “Restrepo” with him, directed the powerful documentary. The film debuts THURSDAY, APRIL 18 (8:00-9:15 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO, two days before the anniversary of Hetherington’s death.
WHICH WAY IS THE FRONT LINE FROM HERE? debuts in conjunction with Sleeping Soliders, an outdoor exhibition of Hetherington’s work at The International Center of Photography (ICP), next door to HBO’s headquarters in New York City. With photographs provided by Manhattan’s Yossi Milo Gallery, this large-format installation will be open to the public Thursday, April 4 through Monday, May 13.
Other HBO playdates: April 18 (2:55 a.m.), 21 (2:00 p.m.), 24 (5:30 p.m., midnight), 27 (8:15 a.m.) and 30 (1:30 p.m.)
HBO2 playdates: May 8 (8:00 p.m.) and 11 (4:45 a.m.)
Less than an hour after hearing rumors that Tim Hetherington had been wounded in Libya, Sebastian Junger received confirmation on Twitter that he and Getty photographer Chris Hondros had been killed. When a number of journalists who’d been present at the mortar attack came to New York for Hetherington’s memorial service, Junger interviewed them in an attempt to understand his friend’s tragic death, and found himself making a documentary.
“Tim worked as a visual artist, and after his death, a film seemed like the most appropriate way to honor him,” says Junger. “Tim was very brave, not only in combat — I have been under fire with him many times — but in life. The artistic choices he made were incredibly risky, but he was very sure of himself and wound up completely reinventing his craft. The title of my film refers as much to Tim’s artistic instincts as to any combat situation he may have been in.”
Just 40 years old when he died, the British-born, Brooklyn-based Hetherington documented war from the perspective of the individual, mostly in West Africa and the Middle East. His stunning photographic work received several major awards, including four World Press prizes. In 2007, Hetherington published “Liberia Bit by Bit: Long Story Retold,” following his work as cinematographer on the documentary “Liberia: An Uncivil War,” and later published “Infidel,” a book of his photographs from “Restrepo.” While Hetherington had a brilliant visual mind, he was defined just as much by his compassion and humanitarianism. “I become deeply embedded emotionally in all the work I do,” he once said. Through his photographs and films, Hetherington offered new ways to view human suffering.
Integrating multiple media formats in his work, Hetherington had a gift for forging sympathy with his subjects as he explored the nature of war. In Liberia, he showed how young soldiers self-consciously imitate what they have seen in the mass media. In Afghanistan, he explored how remote, hostile terrain could be transformed, through soldiers’ camaraderie, into a strange form of “Man Eden.”
To capture Hetherington’s career, leading up to his final day in Misrata, Junger draws upon a wealth of visual material Hetherington left behind, from his brilliant archive of still images, to visceral video footage from the world’s battlegrounds, to excerpts from his short film “Diary,” a hallucinatory trip in which he tries to integrate his overseas experiences with life at home. Also included are moving interviews with family (including his mother and father), friends and colleagues, among them photojournalist James Brabazon, one of the film’s producers, who recall Hetherington’s unique perspective and compassionate spirit.
Sebastian Junger is a New York-based writer, journalist and filmmaker. “Restrepo,” which he co-directed with Tim Hetherington, was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Documentary Feature. Junger’s accompanying book, “War,” was a New York Times bestseller; his other books include “The Perfect Storm,” “Fire” and “A Death in Belmont.” A veteran of war zones across the world, and a contributing editor for Vanity Fair, Junger first reported from Afghanistan in 1996, was trapped in Monrovia during the Liberian civil war in 2003, was caught in Sierra Leone during the civil war of 2000, and was briefly held by “oil rebels” in the Niger delta in 2006. His Oct. 1999 Vanity Fair article “The Forensics of War” won a National Magazine Award for Reporting.
In addition to the ICP exhibit, Yossi Milo Gallery will present Inner Light: Portraits of the Blind, Sierra Leone 1999-2003, from Thursday, April 11 through Saturday, May 18, and Grove Press will publish “Here I Am: The Story of Tim Hetherington, War Photographer,” a compelling portrait by Alan Huffman.
The family of Tim Hetherington has gifted The Estate of Tim Hetherington to The Tim Hetherington Charitable Trust, which will use all proceeds from Hetherington’s photographs, exhibitions, books and films for humanitarian causes. Visit timhetherington.org for more information.
For more information on the documentary, visit: Facebook: facebook.com/hbodocs; and Twitter: @HBODocs #timhetherington.
WHICH WAY IS THE FRONT LINE FROM HERE? THE LIFE AND TIME OF TIM HETHERINGTON is an HBO Documentary Films Presentation; a Goldcrest Films Production; directed by Sebastian Junger; produced by Nick Quested and James Brabazon; field photography by James Brabazon, Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger; edited by Geeta Gandbhir and Maya Mumma; supervising editor, Geeta Gandbhir; original music by Joel Goodman; co-produced by Gretchen McGowan. For HBO: supervising producer, Sara Bernstein; executive producer, Sheila Nevins.