Inigo Gilmore comes to Westminster University

October 31, 2011 § 2 Comments

Life in Kabul 10 years since Operation Enduring Freedom‘ is the newest piece by renowned video-journalist Ingio Gilmore.

This evening he talked to MA Journalism students at Westminster University about his latest project.

The piece, filmed for Channel 4 News, looks at what life is like in Kabul for both the US soldiers stationed there and the Kabul locals themselves 10 years after the beginning of the Second Gulf War.

Gilmore says that he wanted to create a piece that looked at “what we are actually left with” after ten years of fighting, billions of dollars spent and the lost lives of over 2000 US and British soldiers and tens of thousands of Afghans.

“Tapestry of stories” 

What he created was, in his own words, a “rich tapestry of stories.”

And a ‘tapestry’ it is. The film moves from the US military headquarters where soldiers are ballroom dancing to distract themselves from their everyday job, to “Mr. Afghanistan” – body-builder Shukrullah Helmardi who has enjoyed more freedom in his sport since the removal of the Taliban.

The stories continue, looking at the festival of Eid, a celebration which marks the end of Ramadan and the kite running competition, where participants try to knock each others’ kites from the air and have the last kite flying.

Gilmore says that in looking at the different lives of those living in Kabul, he wanted  to “draw out [the] contrasts of life there” and look at the two faces of today’s Kabul: that of the allied occupation and of ordinary Afghans.

Making his own way

Gilmore started his journalistic life in print, covering stories in Africa and taught himself how to shoot video footage. He says that he sometimes “felt uncomfortable with what he was seeing” in the mainstream media and wanted to to tell news stories in his own way.

It is a move that has been successful for him. Just this year Gilmore won the Independent Award at the Royal Television Society’s Television Journalism Awards for his coverage of the 2010 Haitian earthquake.

Although getting his stories has not always been easy – in filming a piece a on the revolution in Cairo Gilmore was confronted by police – Gilmore says that you “do what you have to do.”

In a piece of advice for the students listening, Gilmore says that what is important in creating video-journalism is to “capture the essence of a story”, rather than focusing on filming techniques.

And what is next for Inigo Gilmore? He mentioned that he will be doing a longer piece on the events in Cairo.

I, for one, cannot wait to see it.

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