Documentary about slain photojournalist screens in Ahmanson

An HBO documentary about a photojournalist killed in Libya was screened Oct. 1, followed by a Q&A with an official of Human Rights Watch, a former student of performing arts teacher Ted Walch.

Human Rights Watch Emergencies Director Peter Bouckaert described how he was on Skype with filmmakers in Libya when he learned that his longtime friend, photojournalist Tim Hetherington had been killed, and how he had arranged to have his body taken back to England for burial.

Walch hosted the screening of “Which Way is the Front Line,” which chronicled Hetherington’s career covering wars in Africa and Afghanistan.

Walch taught Bouckaert at the Branson School in Northern California in 1988 and they have been friends ever since.  When Walch heard Bouckaert was going to be in town hosting screenings of the movie for Human Rights Watch, he convinced him to show it at the upper school.

“Peter is a really engaging, articulate spokesman for human rights,” Walch said.

The film starts with Hetherington’s  early life and his first assignment in Liberia. Herrington took a unique approach towards all of his projects, in that he would not just highlight the blood and gore of war, but also the humane and unreported aspects of war. He stayed in Africa for years after the war he was reporting had ended. Hetherington always made a point of being intimate with his subjects and said he cared more about the relationship than the photo or video.

Hetherington shot a series about American soldiers stationed in a  valley in Afghanistan, including pictures of them when they were sleeping, that showed their vulnerability.

The documentary is also available on “HBO Go.”

“I thought it was very powerful and I’m glad I came even though it was really hard to watch,” Ethan Weinstein ’15 said.

All Harvard-Westlake students had the option to attend the screening as well as parents and faculty. A table of food and beverages was offered to the viewers before the movie, including coffee and sandwich platters. Video Art student Max Cho ’15 showed a trailer for the movies that he and a few other students had made after a trip to Laos last spring.

“[I want to] show an example of what young activism is,” Cho said.

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