WASHINGTON (Aug. 24, 2010)—”Restrepo,” released by National Geographic Entertainment, has passed the $1 million mark at the box office. Directed, produced and photographed by award-winning photojournalist Tim Hetherington and best-selling journalist/author Sebastian Junger, the 2010 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize, Documentary, winner has played on more than 100 screens since opening June 25.
“Restrepo” documents the deployment of a platoon of American soldiers in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley. Hetherington and Junger chronicle the daily life at the remote 15-man Outpost Restrepo, considered at that point one of the most dangerous postings in the U.S. military. “Restrepo” is the account of a group of young men who were the “tip of the spear” of America’s efforts in that area.
From May 2007 to July 2008, Hetherington and Junger dug in with a platoon of men from Battle Company, the Second Platoon of the 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, based at Restrepo. Named in honor of the platoon’s medic, PFC Juan “Doc” Restrepo, who was killed in action, Outpost Restrepo had no running water, no Internet, no phone communication, often no electricity or heat, and it was attacked as many as five or six times a day.
Hetherington and Junger ate what the soldiers ate, slept where they slept, went on every patrol and into every combat scenario. By the end of the deployment, they had been completely accepted into the platoon. Their cameras never left the Korengal Valley as they shot 150 hours of combat, frustration, routine, jokes, terror and bravery during daily life at the outpost until the men themselves were finally shipped out. The two journalists went on to conduct in-depth interviews with the platoon members back at their home base in Italy.
Daniel Battsek, president, National Geographic Films, said, “The success of ‘Restrepo’ is not only a testament to the skill of the filmmakers, but also demonstrates the emotional impact that the true stories of these soldiers have had on audiences across the country. I am very proud of the role that National Geographic has played in the release of this remarkable and important film.”
Lisa Truitt, president of National Geographic Cinema Ventures, added, “Hetherington and Junger’s film is like no other about men in harm’s way, giving audiences an uncompromising and honest picture of American soldiers. The soldiers of Outpost Restrepo and their families also participated in taking this movie out to audiences across the country. The work done on behalf of ‘Restrepo’ is a prime example of how to make an independent film succeed in the current marketplace.”
“Restrepo” has been universally acclaimed as one of the most important films of our time. The Chicago Tribune’s Michael Phillips called Restrepo “…the best thing I have seen in a long time, whether a documentary or feature.”
Second Platoon’s 15-month tour of duty also serves as the basis for a book by Junger called “War,” which was released in May 2010 by Twelve, a division of the Hachette Book Group. It is also the subject of “Infidel,” a collection of photographs of the soldiers at Outpost Restrepo, by Hetherington (Chris Boot, LTD. October 2010).
“Restrepo” is an Outpost Films Production in association with National Geographic Channel. Executive producers are John Battsek and Nick Quested. The editor is Michael Levine.
National Geographic Channel acquired worldwide television rights to “Restrepo,” which will premiere globally on the network on Nov. 29, 2010.
Hetherington is an award-winning photographer and documentary filmmaker who has reported on conflict and social issues for more than 10 years. He was the only photographer to live behind rebel lines during the 2003 Liberian civil war, work that culminated in the film “Liberia: an Uncivil War” and the book “Long Story Bit by Bit: Liberia Retold” (Umbrage 2009). He is the recipient of four World Press Photo awards, including the World Press Photo of the Year (2007), and an Alfred I. duPont Award in broadcast journalism while on assignment with Junger for ABC News (2009). A native of the United Kingdom and an Oxford University graduate, Hetherington lives in New York and is a contributing photographer for Vanity Fair.
Junger is the best-selling author of “War,” “The Perfect Storm,” “Fire” and “A Death in Belmont.” He first reported from Afghanistan in 1996 and, four years later (while reporting for National Geographic), was one of the last Westerners to accompany legendary guerrilla fighter Ahmed Shah Massoud during his war against the Taliban. Junger has reported for Vanity Fair from many war zones across the world: He was trapped in Monrovia during the Liberian civil war in 2003, caught in Sierra Leone during the civil war of 2000 and briefly held by “oil rebels” in the Niger Delta in 2006. His October 1999 article in Vanity Fair, “The Forensics of War,” won a National Magazine Award for Reporting. He also won an Alfred I. duPont Broadcast Award for cinematography while embedded with American soldiers for ABC News.
For more information about “Restrepo,” visit www.restrepothemovie.com.
About National Geographic Entertainment
National Geographic Entertainment (NGE) combines into a single operating group National Geographic Films (NGF), National Geographic Cinema Ventures (NGCV), Kids Entertainment and Music & Radio. In 2005 NGF co-presented the Academy Award-winning “March of the Penguins.” National Geographic World Films co-presented both the 2004 Oscar-nominated film “The Story of the Weeping Camel,” which received the Director’s Guild Award for best documentary and was nominated for an Academy Award, and Lu Chuan’s “Mountain Patrol: Kekexili.” NGCV released the 3-D concert film “U2 3D” to critical acclaim and set giant-screen box office records with “Mysteries of Egypt” and “Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure.” In 2009 NGE released “Amreeka,” which was nominated for the Best Picture Gotham Independent Film Award and the Independent Spirit Award. In 2010 NGE released the critically praised “Restrepo,” which won the Sundance Film Festival U.S. Documentary Award. Also currently in release is “The Wildest Dream: Conquest of Everest.”
Daniel Battsek is president of NGF, Lisa Truitt is president of NGCV and Mark Katz is president of NGCV Distribution.
NGE is part of National Geographic Global Media, bringing together all of National Geographic’s editorial platforms to streamline collaboration and support the Society’s mission. Founded in 1888 to “increase and diffuse geographic knowledge,” National Geographic works to inspire people to care about the planet. It reaches more than 375 million people worldwide each month through magazines, books, digital media, television, radio, music, film and live events. It funds over 250 scientific research, exploration and conservation projects each year and supports an education program promoting geography literacy. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com.