A PRIVATE WAR
We seem to be living in a post-truth era, where facts are often traded for
falsehoods, as dictators, terrorists, and politicians alike utilize propaganda
gain. The devastating result is that people often don't know who or what to
Facts seem to be malleable. Journalism is under attack and becoming increasingly
polarized with fabricated "news" masquerading as real reporting.
Deeply concerned by the threats this poses to society, I became inspired to make
Private War about legendary war correspondent Marie Colvin. One of the
journalists of our time, Colvin was an utterly fearless and rebellious spirit,
prepared to take enormous risks to get a story. She was steely under fire, but
set her apart, more than anything else, was her deep desire to bear witness, to
the true human suffering caused by war. She wanted the world to care about
unspeakable atrocities - that are so often kept at arm's length - as much as she
But, in doing so, she was deeply affected by the horrors that she documented,
personal life slowly began to spiral out of control. Some say war reporters
addicted to war - she was no exception. It was a drug that she couldn't escape.
paradoxically, was often her sanctuary.
A Private War is my first narrative film. When approaching Marie's story, I
empathized with her desire to put a human face to conflicts around the world.
the through line of my career as a documentary filmmaker. It's what drove me in
Land, following a group of vigilantes who rose up to fight against the Mexican
cartels, and in City of Ghosts, giving voice to citizen-journalists documenting
that ISIS was committing in their home towns in Syria. Like Marie, I have felt
bizarre thrill that conflict reporting brings and also felt the lingering dark
are an unavoidable consequence of it.
For me, A Private War is a love letter to journalism and an homage to Marie,
her life time and time again fighting to tell hard truths. It was deeply
important for me to
try and also capture Marie's personal struggle and to examine the demons that
her mind. I didn't want to approach the film as a biopic, but instead, an
exploration of the
paradoxical swirl of addictions that made Marie brilliant, but also increasingly
She often struggled with the very thing that drove her - Will the world care
words finally reach them?
- Matthew Heineman
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