Click here to listen to the interview.
When I spoke with Skye Fitzgerald about his devastatingly beautiful short documentary, HUNGER WARD, on February 26,2021, my first question was about how he dealt with the topic of Yemeni children dying from a deliberately induced famine. Specifically, what it was like to leave a hospital ward where children were being treated, not always successfully, for malnutrition, and then sit down to a meal. His response was as surprising as it was philosophical. The film, nominated for the Oscar™, runs 40 minutes, and during that time, the direct impact on innocent victims of geopolitics over which the have no control is laid out with stark clarity. Be warned, some of the sights are gruesome, and Fitzgerald’s deliberate choices about how to present them is another topic we covered.
The conversation included how Fitzgerald copes with witnessing those sights in person, using empathy as his guide, and why he deliberately chose to make beautiful images of the devastation he witnessed. He also made of point of mentioning Adel Al-Hasani, one of his field producers, currently under arrest in Yemen for, as Fitzgerald put it, doing his job as a journalist.
HUNGER WARD is the third in Fitzgerald’s trilogy of short films about innocent people caught in the political cross-fire that includes LIFEBOAT (2018) and 50 FEET FROM SYRIA (2015)