32 – The Importance of the War Correspondent, Documentary Filmmaker + Conversation with Legendary War Journo, Nate Thayer

July 21, 2017

Son of famous actor, Errol Flynn, drops himself into the Vietnam War as a photographer

History wouldn’t be quite the same without the tireless and sometimes incredibly dangerous work of the war correspondent or doc filmmaker.  Ever since I could pick up a camera, I found myself somehow deeply interested and connected with the lives and work of war photographers and journos.  Something about the lone wolf journalist traveling all over the world, often in major conflict zones and often risking their own wellbeing, in order to get first-hand accounts of devastating injustices, really spoke to me.  The stories of these men and women have always inspired me and my work.  I take a look at three of these individuals in segment one of this episode.

War journo, Nate Thayer

In our shared conversation with a doc industry guest segment, I sat down with the genuine article, Nate Thayer, who spent nearly twenty years in and out of the jungles of Cambodia, during one of the more volatile times in its history: just after the Cambodian Genocide had ended.  The object of Thayer’s work?  The very architect of the genocide himself, Pol Pot, or Brother Number One, as many would know him, who had refused any requests for interviews for two decades.  In fact, a number of Western journalists lost their lives at the hands of the Khmer Rouge, before Thayer would become one of the only journalists ever to be allowed access to him.  In this case, it was shortly before Pol Pot’s death.



View John Pilger‘s Year Zero – The Silent Death of Cambodia, in its entirety, here:

Controversial excerpt from Peter Davis’ Hearts and Minds where Westmoreland makes his rather stunning general observation about the Vietnamese:


Sean Flynn in Phnom Penh

SEAN FLYNN Here is an article detailing the “search” for Sean Flynn.






As part of my conversation with Nate Thayer, he discusses ABC News and their famous Nightline anchor, Ted Koppel, who Thayer would later sue for $30 million, claiming that ABC News had breached their contract by releasing the footage and still grabs to the world, instead of using only for Nightline.  In the episode, Thayer, offers up his version of events, including public refusal to accept the prestigious Peabody Award.

Well, here is the actual video of Koppel at the Peabody Awards event, discussing Thayer’s refusal to accept the award:

Whadja think?

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The Documentary Life © 2017
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