'Restrepo' Co-Director May Never Return To A War Zone
TORONTO – Restrepo co-director Sebastian Junger on Saturday recalled slain war journalist and collaborator Tim Hetherington by telling a Hot Docs festival audience in Toronto he may never set foot in a war zone again.
“I don’t think so. Tim took the wind out of my sails,” Junger said in a Q&A at Bell Lightbox after a special screening of the Oscar-nominated Afghanistan war film Restrepo to honor Hetherington, the photojournalist-filmmaker killed on April 20 in Libya.
“I’m 49. I’ve made my peace with almost getting killed. What I didn’t realize, and what I’ve now experienced, is losing someone close to me,” Junger added.
The American journalist said he expected to find other ways to cover global tensions and politics without being shot at.
Junger insisted that, if he were to return to a war zone and be killed, then people close to him will experience the same pain and grief he now feels over Hetherington’s death.
“You’re really responsible to more people than yourself,” he added.
Junger said he has yet to view Restrepo since Hetherington’s death.
Standing in his way is the pain that Junger said every soldier who has lost a friend in battle knows and which was recounted to him in an emotional letter he received after Hetherington’s death from a Vietnam war veteran.
“The central core of war isn’t that you might die, but that you will lose a brother,” he told the Hot Docs audience about war and camaraderie.
“The next time I see the film (Restrepo), I’ll be reminded about the death of a brother,” Junger added in a final tribute to Hetherington..
The Hot Docs screening of the Afghanistan war film, sponsored in part by National Geographic Films and realscreen magazine, raised in all around $10,000 for three charities chosen by the Hetherington family.