The blood-stained lens.

I was devastated to learn recently that the Taliban had killed an Afghan mine-clearer after watching him in the 3x Emmy-winning documentary Retrograde.

The director of the film, Matthew Heineman and producer Caitlin McNally were warned by five different people on two seperate occasions* to blur the faces of the Afghan contributors but intstead, they opted to use unblurred close ups of the mine clearers, no doubt in their bid for the documentary to resonate emotionally and therefore win them more awards. 

As a result of the hubris and incompetence of these two filmmakers, a man lost his life. 

There has been a long tradition of filmmakers coming into a space to exploit and extract a story, regardless of its cost. Nothing else matters for these people, as long as they come out victorious with a few oscar nominations and some fancy laurels on the poster. 

It’s these people that make the rest of us feel ashamed to call ourselves filmmakers. 

It’s not just soldiers that carry weapons of harm. In fact, as history often shows, filmmakers can destroy far better and more effectively than any soldier can. 

A camera can be both a tool for freedom and for destruction.

Yes, with enough intensity and persistence, you will find yourself eventually lifting that coveted shiny trophy you’ve chased all your life but take care lest you find yourself lifting the shiny trophy with hands stained in blood. 

*Daily Telegraph