This Thursday, February 18, at 9.30pm ET/PT, HBO Documentary Films will premiere a new feature-length documentary, Reporter, profiling the work of intrepid New York Times reporter Nicholas Kristof. As a Sunday subscriber to the times for the past few years, I've read a number of Kristof's columns with datelines in places including Darfur, Pakistan, and the Congo. To describe his columns as often stomach-churning would be putting it mildly; he often uses extremely descriptive language while reporting on some of the worst atrocities you could ever imagine. Take his column from two weeks ago as an example.
Reporter, which was directed by filmmaker Eric Daniel Metzgar, chronicles Kristof as he follows the Hutu/Tutsi conflict in Rwanda as it spills over the border into neighboring Congo. According the HBO, Reporter "tells the story of a vanishing breed of journalists who bear witness to global catastrophes, breathing life into sobering statistics one country at a time, one story at a time, one typed word at a time."
Indeed, this is one boots-on-the-ground, old-school reporter who has earned his frequent flier miles. I also appreciate that he has done a lot of work with educating college students about these issues.
Some of the stories that will be told in Reporter include:
* "A group of villagers from Demerwala, who recount tales of murder and sexual abuse targeted against people who voted against the candidate of a feudal lord."
* "A woman named Yohanita, raped by a soldier and now starving in her hut, who must be driven to a hospital in an (ultimately futile) attempt to save her life."
* "A rare interview with General Laurent Nkunda, the reigning warlord in eastern Congo, who claims to be a “liberator” protecting the Tutsi minority from Hutu militia who fled here after causing the Rwandan genocide earlier in the decade. After interviewing Nkunda, the group intends to return to their village before dark, but the warlord insists that they stay for dinner, forcing them to return in the dark (a dangerous proposition)."
You can view several clips from the film on HBO's YouTube channel, and read a promotional blurb on Kristof's blog.
Reporter premieres on HBO this Thursday, February 18 at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT