Desperate Times


Spike held onto the camera case with an iron vise of a grip. He’d thought he’d seen it all back at home, but for this reporter the war was something else. A man he’d spoken to for the last two days was gone in a flash, and he could still remember waking up to the sound of artillery fire. He gave his holster a pat to discover the pistol was gone, and he cursed. All he had was his knife and that camera.

He had cursed all the way through as he ran as far as he could take himself. He wasn’t going to let himself be captured, but he couldn’t make for any Allied positions. His lungs felt as though they were on fire, and eventually his legs gave up on him, leaving him in the grass as the morning sun shined down on him, and he wept, clenching his fists.

“Damn it. What have I done?!”

With a sniffle, he crawled over to a tree and sat up against it to use as cover, before shutting his eyes. 

Celebration Report

I just got back from Celebration, which was fantastic but something of an endurance test! I’m completely exhausted, so will sum up some of the most interesting things I heard, experienced and saw. I do have some pictures, but they will have to wait until I’m at a functional level of consciousness. 

- I saw two panels: Carrie Fisher’s and Future Filmmakers. I woke up at 4.30am and suffered for you all to bring you this report. And yes - it was 110% worth it.

- Erik Maell (painter of the famous bridal carry picture) is a real sweetheart, and was a lovely guy to speak with. He was very happy to talk about the picture and seemed pleased and intrigued that it had provoked so many interesting and divergent responses (recalling everything from Harlequin romance covers to Bon Jovi music videos!) He mentioned the abduction scene in the film having an almost romantic flair. His portfolio is also to die for, featuring some really impressive speculative depictions of Ben Solo (i.e. ‘what if’ Ben had never turned bad).

- Carrie was hilarious and Gary Fisher (her dog) was the real star of the show. It almost slipped past me, but Carrie did allude to two potential Episode VIII spoilers, mentioning a funeral for Han and that she wears an enormous dress (which came up in response to a question about whether she would take a lover in the next movie - she suggested hiding her lover in the dress as a possibility).

- Perhaps the best moment of the day came when Carrie said she spanked Adam Driver upon meeting him for the first time. I’m 99% sure she was being serious. She also spoke about Leia having a stormy relationship with Han, and said they had a child who grew up to be “space Hitler”. This all made me want to hear Carrie discuss Adam/Kylo more, since she gave me exactly what I wanted from her and more.

- The Future Filmmakers panel was very interesting but didn’t reveal anything truly meaty or new about Episode VIII. The main panel was with Pablo Hidalgo, Kathleen Kennedy, Kiri Hart, Rian Johnson, and Lord and Miller (directors of the Han Solo spinoff). Alden Ahrenreich was brought out as the new Han Solo, and John Boyega appeared to represent the new cast. Mark and Carrie also showed. There was no footage (unless you count a clip from The Lego Movie).

- Rian impressed me the most. He’s clearly very intelligent and I love how passionately he spoke about the project. He was visibly moved by the enormity of the event, and the level of investment people already have in his film.

- Some new films influencing Episode VIII were mentioned. As well as Letter Never Sent and Twelve O Clock High (which had already been cited as influences), Bridge Over The River Kwai and Three Outlaw Samurai were mentioned. Rian said that they have noticed particularly striking similarities to Twelve O Clock High when looking at how the film has come together. Another film was mentioned - the title sounded like ‘Gunda-Ding’ to me, but I expect that’s radically off base and we will probably need to ask Pablo to spell it.

- Rian confirmed that there is no time jump. Episode VIII picks up right where Episode VII left off (as the production teaser implied).

- Rey, Finn, Poe and Kylo were repeatedly mentioned as the core characters that the new films are following. Rian said that Episode VIII builds on the groundwork laid by Episode VII, zooming in on the characters (”pushing deeper”) and getting to the heart of who they are. 

- There was lots of fluff about the magic of the Irish landscape, how awesome everyone is, and the obligatory “practical effects” party line. 

- There was a competition going on where people tried to give Pablo hugs of steadily increasing intensity. Lord and Miller won.

- John’s most notable contribution was hyping/bigging up Kelly Marie Tran. This was complemented by Rian stressing how “special” Kelly is.

- There is really no reason why the FF panel couldn’t have been screened. I’m baffled as to why it wasn’t, and think it’s something of a shame. It was a good tease, even though it lacked the big moments many of us were hoping for.

Those are the most amusing/interesting details that jump out at me! I had a great time - thanks to @bastila-bae for being a great queue buddy!


This is what it’s actually like to be a war reporter

It is to growing up in a large family that she owes her liberal-mindedness and ability to deal with trauma while spending up to three quarters of the year on the road. “Being the youngest of seven kids teaches you how to be tolerant, independent and the importance of working as a team,” she says. “Three of my siblings died, which was devastating – especially for my mother – but loss makes you realise that life’s short and that you need to seize opportunity.”

Decided to tackle one of the general prompt tables of the 007 Fest, and since I’m a sucker for AUs I of course choose prompt table 007 for AUs.

So first picture I finished is the science fiction AU, or more specific a Star wars AU. I’m not sure if Bond posses all the necessary requirements to be a good Jedi, but Q would so make his money by building the best druids there are.

Cooper continues to travel to conflict zones despite the risks, despite the very real deaths he has witnessed. ‘I’ve learned just how quick and easy it is to get killed. Literally, the blink of an eye. You see it in movies and you think, Oh, the world stops spinning and there are these long death scenes. It’s not like that. You crumple to the ground and you’re dead.’

Men’s Health - A Travelers Tales (2008)

Anderson Cooper’s desire to see the world has got him shot at and thrown into foreign jails, made him an international icon, and nearly cost him his humanity. The CNN anchor explains what he has learned from snipers, starvation, genocide, Katrina, and the moment he went, ever so briefly, over the edge.


The Bosnia Book Project (1992-1995)


In September 2011 a group of photographers and writers who had covered the war in Bosnia met and decided to make a book about that war to commemorate the beginning of the war and to re-engage with the country. The idea was 15 years in the making. 

Jon Jones (project photo editor)Gary Knight (project production in collaboration with photographer Ziyah Gafic) and Remy Ourdan (project text editor) took the project on with the intention of making a book to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the war. They pulled together the work of over 50 indigenous and foreign photographers and writers who all volunteered their material.

The hardback book contains 248 pages that includes the work of many of the leading photographers and writers of the time. It charts the course of the war from its beginning in April 1992 to the Dayton Peace Accord in 1995. 

We have raised 50% of the money we need to publish, now we are looking for matching funds.

The book is now ready to print in Bosnia in time for its launch at the Sarajevo Film Festival in July 2012. We need your help to make this deadline.

250 copies of the book will be dispersed for free to libraries and academic institutions in Bosnia.

The contributors to the book include:

Darko Bandic, Amel Amric, Nina Berman, Alexandra Boulat, Gilles Peress, Noël Quidu, Ron Haviv, Odd Andersen, Olivier Jobard, Patrick Chauvel, Andrew Reid, Anja Niedringhaus, Rikard Lama, Antoine Gyori, Benoit Gysembergh, Christopher Morris, Christophe Calais, Enric Marti, Enrico Dagnino, Eric Bouvet, Filip Horvat, James Mason, Jerome Delay, James Nachtwey, Laurent Rebours, Laurent Sazy , Michael Persson , Morten Hvaal , Patrick Robert, Paul Lowe, Peter Northall, Rachel Cobb, Roger Hutchings, Ron Haviv, Santiago Lyon, Srdjan Ilic, Steve Connors, Thomas Kern, Tom Haley, Tom Stoddart, Laurent Van Der Stockt, Goddard Wade, Yannis Behrakis, Anthony Loyd, John F Burns, Janine Di Giovanni, Jean Hatzfeld, Kurt Schork, David Rohde, Ariane Quentier, Remy Ourdan, Gary Knight, Jon Jones.

Thank you for reading.


The Scratched Lens: Weekend Watch. The War Reporter 

Adler was born in Stockholm, Sweden, to a Swedish father and a British mother. He grew up in Västerås and became a journalist after studying anthropology in London. Adler was killed in 2006 while on a reporting assignment in Somalia. Adler is survived by his wife and two daughters. 

Adler specialized in independent reporting from the world’s most troubled countries, exposing poverty, human rights abuses and the fate of individuals in the midst of war and genocide. During his career, he worked in over two dozen war zones, including El Salvador, Rwanda, the Republic of Congo, Angola, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Chechnya, Bosnia,Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Kashmir, Burundi, Somalia, Sudan, Eritrea and Iraq.

Martin Adler was killed on 23 June 2006 after being shot at close range by an unknown assailant during a crowded rally in the Somalian capital, Mogadishu that was being held in support of the peace agreement. The gunman then vanished into the crowd.

In 2001, he won the Amnesty International Media Award (news category) for his story on the kidnapping and sale of women in China. He was also awarded the Silver Prize for Investigative Journalism at the 2001 New York TV Festival. In 2004 he was named the Winner of the Rory Peck Award for Hard News for his work with “On Patrol with Charlie Company” in Iraq.

In 2007, the Rory Peck Trust inaugurated the Martin Adler Prize, which is awarded annually at the British Film Institute in recognition of Adler’s “great talents as a journalist, filmmaker and storyteller”. The purpose of the prize is to honour a freelance cameraperson, journalist, fixer, driver or translator for their role in reporting a significant news story, to “raise awareness of the value of the recipient’s work” and to “help them to progress in their career”.

The Scratched Lens: Martin Adler was a serious badass. An amazing cameraman and an equally amazing photographer. A truly inspiring journalist. Give this one a watch.


Anderson Cooper’s Channel One Days

Sarajevo, 1993 - I hung blackout curtains so that snipers couldn’t see into my room. Slept on the floor so if a morder exploded my matress might protect me. I try to be careful, tried not to expose myself to snipers. I wasn’t able to understand it until I spend time in a dark room listening to shells land on nearby buildings, wondering if I was next. I found myself hating the bombers, wishing I could escape. I found myself crying with fear, cause there is nothing else I could do.

Sarajevo 2012: A Meeting of War Reporters & Sarajevo Friends 


For the 20th anniversary of the war, foreign reporters who covered the war in Bosnia are coming back from all around the world to meet their Sarajevo friends.
The meeting is taking place the all week of the anniversary, from Monday, April 2nd, until Sunday, April 8th.

Many events are taking place all around the city, organized by our partners or by various Sarajevo organizations.

Our main conference is on Friday, April 6th (3pm-5.30pm), at the Holiday Inn.
The meeting is organized by Le Monde journalist Remy Ourdan, with a group of foreign reporters and friends from Sarajevo. Our conference is organized with Memory Module.

The program of ‘Sarajevo 2012’

Monday, April 2, 2012 – Saturday, April 7, 2012

Book fair organized by Centre Andre Malraux with Shahinpasic and Comme un roman bookshops, at the Holiday Inn.
Discussions with authors will take place every day.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Media Center, Kolodvorska 3
18:00 – Film screening „Shooting Robert King“, Richard Parry
19:30 – Q&A with the guests: Producer of the movie Richard Parry and cameraman Vaughan Smith (director of the Frontline Film production)
20:00 – The night of Radio Zid 
Moderator/animator Aida Kalender would interview guests, some of the radio Zid contributors, /audio, video and photo reports from Radio Zid archive during the war
21:00 – Party and unofficial gathering with a DJ
23.00 - AllNight: Lobby bar open at the Holiday Inn

Thursday, April 5, 2012

10.00-15.00: Visit of the Tunel Museum with Edis Kolar, head of Tunel Museum (in Donji Kotorac, Butmir, also on Saturday).
11.00-12.00: Promotion of the virtual FAMA collection ‘The Siege of Sarajevo’ (authors and publishers of ‘Sarajevo Survival Guide’, encyclopedia ‘The Siege of Sarajevo’, ‘Sarajevo Life Magazine’, etc), at Meeting Point. Press-conference.
17.00-19.00: Exhibition of 15 young Sarajevo photographers on ‘Sarajevo today’, organized by Goethe Institute and British Council, at Kriterion (ex-cinema Tesla, on Obala, 5mn walk from HI).
21.00-22.00: 3D Mapping of The Siege of Sarajevo Museum project, based on FAMA collection, run by consortium Fama/Mess/Ogbih/YIHR BH, on the future museum location (in Park Hastahana, Marijin Dvor, 5mn walk from HI). 
23.00-AllNight: Lobby bar open at the Holiday Inn.

Friday, April 6th

09.00-14.00: Panel discussion on ‘Media in war and peace time’, Holiday Inn.
A debate on the role of the media during and since the Bosnian war - organised by the AFP Foundation and the Council of Europe, in partnership with the Press Council and Association of Journalists of Bosnia and Herzegovina with the generous support of the Irish Government. 

15.00-17.30: The main conference of ‘Sarajevo 2012’ and foreign reporters, organized by Memory Module and Nihad Kresevljakovic, who are working for the last fifteen years on the memory of the war, at the Holiday Inn.
The conference will include a screening of the photo book edited by the foreign photographers, videos and speeches.

18.00: The 2012 official ceremony organized by the City of Sarajevo.
20.00-23.00: Dinner with all foreign reporters, Sarajevo partners and friends, Holiday Inn war staff and others, at the Holiday Inn.
23.00-02.00: Rock concert, video and photo screenings, and party at Kriterion (ex-cinema Tesla, on Obala, 5mn walk from HI).
23.00-AllNight: Lobby bar open at the Holiday Inn.

Saturday, April 7th

10.00-15.00: Visit of the Tunel Museum with Edis Kolar, head of Tunel Museum (in Donji Kotorac, Butmir).
11.30-12.00: Gathering at Kurt Schork’s grave at the Lav Cimetery, with Kurt’s partner Sabina Cosic and friends. And thoughts for Paul Marchand, Miguel Gil Moreno and others.
17.00-18.00: Exhibition of photographers Dejan Vekic, Zoran Kanlic, Danilo Krstanovic, at Java Galery.
18.00-20.30: Ed Vulliamy is celebrating the launch of his new book, ‘The War is Dead, Long Live the War’, at Pansion Hondo.
19.00-20.30: Exhibition of Jim Marshall organized by Mess, at Sartre War Theater.
22.00: Party organized by Damir Niksic, at Rock Teatar Cafe.
23.00-AllNight: Lobby bar open at the Holiday Inn.

Sunday, April 8th
20.00: Farewell party, at Rock Teatar Cafe or Pivnica.

Una Bejtović, press@mess.ba, +387 61 190 110

Other informations

The photo book
Foreign reporters are publishing a photo book on the war in Bosnia, with images from bosnian and foreign photographers taken between April 92 and December 95.
The book is edited and managed by photographers Jon Jones and Gary Knight, and Remy Ourdan (contact : jon.jones@sunday-times.co.uk and knight@viiphoto.com).

The Holiday Inn
To book a room at the Holiday Inn, contact reservations@holiday-inn.ba

Forward this email to every friend and colleague interested in Sarajevo and the war in Bosnia.
Everyone is free to join us in Sarajevo. We don’t send invitations, we don’t ask for reservations, all the events are for free.

See you in Sarajevo

In this photo: Giovanni Porta (Panorama magazine), Eligio Paoni (Contrasto Agency) - Mostar 1993 (Photo: Patrick Chauvel)

Marie Colvin's final dispatch from Homs, the battered city

Below are the first few paras of the last report filed by the journalist Marie Colvin before she was killed on 22 February 2012. She was reporting from inside the besieged Syrian enclave of Baba Amr in the city of Homs, and died when the building she was working from, an unofficial media centre, was bombarded by the Syrian army.

‘Colvin, who had lost an eye to shrapnel in Sri Lanka and had covered conflicts in Chechnya, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Libya, and East Timor, described the bombardment of Homs as the worst conflict she had ever experienced’ (from wikipedia).

Colvin’s entire report is available to read here, placed exceptionally outside the paywall of the Sunday Times website – the newspaper’s content is usually subscriber only.

Syria, 2012

They call it the widows’ basement. Crammed amid makeshift beds and scattered belongings are frightened women and children trapped in the horror of Homs, the Syrian city shaken by two weeks of relentless bombardment.

Among the 300 huddling in this wood factory cellar in the besieged district of Baba Amr is 20-year-old Noor, who lost her husband and her home to the shells and rockets.

“Our house was hit by a rocket so 17 of us were staying in one room,” she recalls as Mimi, her three-year-old daughter, and Mohamed, her five-year-old son, cling to her abaya.

“We had had nothing but sugar and water for two days and my husband went to try to find food.” It was the last time she saw Maziad, 30, who had worked in a mobile phone repair shop. “He was torn to pieces by a mortar shell.”

For Noor, it was a double tragedy. Adnan, her 27-year-old brother, was killed at Maziad’s side.

Everyone in the cellar has a similar story of hardship or death. The refuge was chosen because it is one of the few basements in Baba Amr. Foam mattresses are piled against the walls and the children have not seen the light of day since the siege began on February 4. Most families fled their homes with only the clothes on their backs.

The city is running perilously short of supplies and the only food here is rice, tea and some tins of tuna delivered by a local sheikh who looted them from a bombed-out supermarket.

A baby born in the basement last week looked as shellshocked as her mother, Fatima, 19, who fled there when her family’s single-storey house was obliterated. “We survived by a miracle,” she whispers. Fatima is so traumatised that she cannot breastfeed, so the baby has been fed only sugar and water; there is no formula milk.

Fatima may or may not be a widow. Her husband, a shepherd, was in the countryside when the siege started with a ferocious barrage and she has heard no word of him since.

The widows’ basement reflects the ordeal of 28,000 men, women and children clinging to existence in Baba Amr, a district of low concrete-block homes surrounded on all sides by Syrian forces. The army is launching Katyusha rockets, mortar shells and tank rounds at random.

Snipers on the rooftops of al-Ba’ath University and other high buildings surrounding Baba Amr shoot any civilian who comes into their sights. Residents were felled in droves in the first days of the siege but have now learnt where the snipers are and run across junctions where they know they can be seen. Few cars are left on the streets.

Almost every building is pock-marked after tank rounds punched through concrete walls or rockets blasted gaping holes in upper floors. The building I was staying in lost its upper floor to a rocket last Wednesday. On some streets whole buildings have collapsed — all there is to see are shredded clothes, broken pots and the shattered furniture of families destroyed.’

Read the full report at the Sunday Times.