May 23, 2024

Event Coverage Highlight

Documentary Screening: ‘FREELANCERS’ with Bill Gentile

FREELANCERS with Bill Gentile _ Sizzle Reel _ September 8 from Backpack Journalist on Vimeo.


Bill Gentile, left, interviews Ioan Grillo at the US-Mexico border outside the Mexican city of Nogales. Ioan is the central character in “Freelancers.” He is a regular freelance contributor to The New York Times, and has published two books on drug trafficking in Mexico and the Western Hemisphere.

FREELANCERS is a documentary series about the work and personal struggles of a new generation of journalists searching for truth, purpose and meaning in the most challenging and complex countries in the world. They do so despite hardship and risk – without the traditional support or security of staff correspondents.

At a time when journalists are attacked, their craft maligned and their values questioned, FREELANCERS follows these daring, tech-savvy and determined men and women to see what journalists really do to bring us news and information about the critical issues of our time. At stake is nothing less than access to information essential to democracy.

Veteran foreign correspondent Bill Gentile hosts this global series to set the record straight about journalists, journalism and truth.

The 54-minute series pilot was produced in Mexico, where the drug war has left at least 175,000 people dead, including more than 100 journalists, since the year 2000. Viewers see the work and the personal stories of freelance reporters, photographers and filmmakers filling the void left by mainstream media closing bureaus and cutting staff around the world. We witness the journalists’ struggles to sustain themselves in a rapidly changing and highly competitive profession.

Bill Gentile and other freelance journalists will talk about their work following the screening.

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Moderator: Bill Gentile is an independent journalist and documentary filmmaker who began his career as a freelance foreign correspondent in Mexico in 1977. He has covered stories from Central America, to the Persian Gulf, to Iraq and Afghanistan and won two Emmy Awards. He is a professor of the School of Communication at American University in Washington, DC, and producer, director and host of FREELANCERS.

Sulome Anderson is a journalist based in Beirut, Lebanon and New York City. Her work has appeared in outlets including The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, NBC News, Newsweek, Harper’s and Esquire. Her book, The Hostage’s Daughter, was published by HarperCollins in 2016.

Jason Motlagh is a writer, broadcast journalist and filmmaker whose work focuses on conflict and human rights. He has reported from more than fifty countries and a half-dozen conflicts spanning West Africa to Southeast Asia for National Geographic, Rolling Stone, Outside, The Washington Post, The Guardian and The Economist. He won the OPC’s Madeline Dane Ross Award for Best International Reporting on the Human Condition in 2014.

Click the window below to see a playlist of clips from the panel.