Just as the sound of bullets hitting a tin ceiling is heard, a mobile phone rings. "Call me back in about half an hour," says the man answering the phone, calmly.
And thus begins 'Hondros' one of the most beautifully terrifying cinematic looks into what it means to be a tried and true photojournalist. The man answering the phone is Chris Hondros. The late, great Chris Hondros, who for years was the man behind the lens of some of the most iconic photographs of our times.
Directed by Hondros' childhood friend Greg Campbell, and produced by Jake Gyllenhaal and Riva Marker for their 2015-founded company Nine Stories Productions, the film takes its audience to the frontline of wars, attacks and disasters, as only Hondros himself could have experienced. His photograph of the child soldier in Liberia or the little girl soaked in blood in Iraq are now images imprinted in our minds and hearts, as ever-present and iconic as Frank Capa's images of D'Day.
Hondros was killed in the line of duty during an attack in Misrata Province in Libya in 2011 where documentarian Tim Heterington was also murdered and which left photographer Guy Martin severely injured. It was an inglorious unnecessary death, but then, there never really are necessary ones for great heroes. Of course, as Martin himself pointed out to me during an interview last year, the life of a photographer can't be defined by "that moment" -- the instance of his tragic death.
It is in celebrating the life and work of Chris Hondros that we continue to honor his undeniable legacy.
And Campbell does just that, honor the life and art of his friend, with a film that gives the audience little background, but rather lets his images speak for themselves. While he sprinkles the film with comments from Hondros' wildly gutsy mom -- one can see where he got the courage gene from -- and even by the child soldier turned police commissioner from Monrovia whom Hondros put through school, the director still lets the photos tell the story of a man.
A man we sadly miss, who possessed the bravery few of us could ever dream of, and who dared to go where no one wants to -- simply to tell the truth.
'Hondros' is in theaters now in London, NYC and Los Angeles, as well as online at iTunes on Amazon, Google, Fandango and Vudu. It will begin streaming on Netflix in the summer.