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Icarus Film
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A Baptism of Fire
A film by Jérôme Clément-Wilz
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Corentin Fohlen crouches behind a dumpster, gas mask strapped to his face. As tear gas canisters fly and protesters battle Cairo police, Fohlen walks through the chaos, calmly snapping one photo after another.

A BAPTISM OF FIRE follows Fohlen, 29, and several other young freelance photographers as they cover the Arab Spring uprisings. Filmed over four years, it is a gripping documentary that captures the routines and chaos of their daily lives -shooting photos as bullets fly, duct-taping "TV" to the side of a car, the women wrapping their underwear in duct tape to ward off potential sexual assaults.

As the film follows Fohlen from Egypt to Libya, home to France, and on assignment to South Sudan and Haiti, it captures the toll this work takes on him. And after a colleague is killed in Syria, he begins to question the value and meaning of the images he has devoted himself to capturing.

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Meanwhile, as the number of freelancers grows, photographers in the field find themselves pushing harder, taking more risks-doing anything to capture that image that might land (as one of Fohlen's does) on the cover of Time.

"Risk your life to show the conflict and suffering of the world? This original documentary testifies to the passion of a photojournalism: Corentin, not yet 30-years-old, has already spent six years in the business. From the chaos of Cairo to Homs, from Haiti to Libya, we see him at work, equipped with a helmet, gas mask and bulletproof vest."Le Monde

"Shot on the ground, in the heart of danger, the film exposes raw emotion, pain, reflection and laughter."Les Inrocks

"One of the best documentaries of all time. [Director Jérôme Clément-Wilz] follows his friend through shells of bullets to bring to light the daily lives of these news junkies."Vanity Fair, France

Best Documentary, 2015 Luchon Film Festival France
2015 International Festival of Audiovisual Programs (FIPA)
2015 GZDOC Film Festival China
2015 DOK Leipzig Film Festival

52 minutes / color
Closed Captioned
Release: 2016
Copyright: 2015
Sale: $390

Subject areas:
Journalism, Middle East, Photography, Documentaries, Ethics, Political Science, Sociology, Human Rights

Related Titles:
The Battle for the Arab Viewer: A behind-the-scenes look at the rivalry between the Arab world's two main TV networks - Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya.

Magnum Photos: Behind-the-scenes of the Magnum Photos agency, and in-the-field with several of the group's leading photographers (including Martin Parr, Larry Towell, Donovan Wylie, and others).

The Spectre of Hope: Critic and writer John Berger and photographer Sebastião Salgado lead this searing examination of imagery and images, the abyss, hope, and globalization.

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Last Updated August 10, 2016
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