American filmmaker Brent Renaud shot dead in Ukraine – Cinema – Arts & Culture

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Brent Renaud (file photo: AP)

The 50-year-old Little Rock, Arkansas native was gathering material for a report on refugees when his vehicle was hit at a checkpoint in Irpin, just outside the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said the area had come under heavy shelling by Russian forces in recent days.

“Renaud was one of the most respected independent producers of his time,” said Christof Putzel, a filmmaker and close friend who received a text message from Renaud just three days before his death. Renaud and Putzel won a journalism award from Alfred I. duPont University-Columbia in 2013 for “Arming the Mexican Cartels,” a documentary about how guns from the United States fueled endemic violence in the United States. drug gangs.

“That guy was the absolute best,” Putzel told The Associated Press by phone from New York. “He was simply the best war reporter I know. He’s a guy who’s literally been to every conflict zone.

Details of Renaud’s death were not immediately released by Ukrainian authorities, but US journalist Juan Arredondo said the two were traveling in a vehicle towards the Irpin checkpoint when they were both arrested. slaughtered. Arredondo, speaking from a kyiv hospital, told Italian journalist Annalisa Camilli that Renaud had been shot in the neck. Camilli told the AP that Arredondo himself was hit in the lower back.

“We crossed the first bridge at Irpin, we were going to film other refugees leaving, and we got into a car, someone offered to take us to the other bridge, we crossed the checkpoint and they started shooting at us,” Arredondo said. Camilli in a video interview shared with the AP.

A statement from the kyiv regional police said Russian troops opened fire on the car. Hours after Renaud’s shooting, Irpin Mayor Oleksandr Markushyn said journalists would be denied entry into the town.

“This way we want to save their lives and those of our defenders,” Markushyn said.

Reacting to news of Renaud’s death, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists called for an immediate end to violence against journalists and other civilians.

“This type of attack is completely unacceptable and constitutes a violation of international law,” the committee said on Twitter.

Along with his brother Craig, Renaud won a Peabody Award for “Last Chance High,” an HBO series about a school for at-risk youth on Chicago’s West Side. The brothers’ litany of accomplishments include two duPont-Columbia Journalism Awards and acclaimed productions for HBO, NBC, Discovery, PBS, The New York Times and Vice News.

Renaud was also a 2019 Nieman Scholar at Harvard and served as Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Center for Ethics in Journalism at the University of Arkansas. He and his brother founded the Little Rock Film Festival.

Among other assignments, Renaud has covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the devastating 2011 earthquake in Haiti, political unrest in Egypt and Libya, and extremism in Africa.

Putzel, who worked with Renaud for 12 years, paid tribute to his courage and passion.

“Nowhere was too dangerous,” Putzel said. “It was his bravery but also because he cared deeply, deeply.”

He is survived by his brother Craig, Craig’s wife, Mami, and a nephew, 11-year-old Taiyo.

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