A PRIVATE WAR – Interview with Filmmaker Matthew Heineman

"For me, A Private War is a love letter to journalism and an homage to Marie, who risked 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 plagued 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 tortured. She often struggled with the very thing that drove her – Will the world care when her words finally reach them?"  From Matthew Heineman's Director's Statement for A PRIVATE WAR.
 

Here is our interview with Oscar-nominated and Emmy Award winning filmmaker Matthew Heineman.

"We seem to be living in a post-truth era, where facts are often traded for blatant falsehoods, as dictators, terrorists, and politicians alike utilize propaganda for personal gain. The devastating result is that people often don’t know who or what to believe. 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 A Private War about legendary war correspondent Marie Colvin. One of the most celebrated 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 what truly set her apart, more than anything else, was her deep desire to bear witness, to show 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 did."  From Matthew Heineman's Director's Statement for A PRIVATE WAR.
 

Heineman's first narrative film blurs the lines of his documentary background and his endeavor to deliver a truthful look at Marie Colvin's life.  Reality is obvious important to the filmmaker and his ability to capture the harsh elements of war while still hitting the emotional toil they had on Colvin's mental state is amazingly done.  Along with the 3 time Oscar winning DP Robert Richardson we have been given one of the most vivid and haunting looks into modern warfare through the constant gaze of Colvin.  It's incredible to realize the team captured so many different war zones all in Jordan, their home base for the shoot.  Matthew's time as a documentary filmmaker has allowed him a similar understanding of the world's perils.  He beautifully sums that up with, "Like Marie, I have felt that same bizarre thrill that conflict reporting brings and also felt the lingering dark thoughts that are an unavoidable consequence of it."

This film will stick with you long after viewing and will hopefully allow you a complete link to the importance of fearless folks like Colvin and Heineman.  They are pushing their own comfort and safety to give a giant spotlight on those that are usually confined and held in the darkness.  It's not Batman or Wonder Woman that truly saves but it's the journalists, the bold voices, the documentarian, the survivors and the passionate sympathizers that allow for the truth to be so present.      
    

I've enjoyed my few chats with Matthew Heineman over the last few years because no matter the question his response is thoughtful and usually profound.  Here is my latest interview with the award winning filmmaker Matthew Heineman.

In this first portion we discuss how personal the movie is to him.  Also what it was like working with powerhouses like Rosamund Pike & Bob Richardson.  And he talked about the importance and uniqueness of having the real life Paul Conroy on set.  

 

For the second portion Matthew and I talk about recreating Marie's world and about having the time to replicate it to the last hair or piece of lint on a pillow.

 

For more information – A PRIVATE WAR.