Edet Belzberg
HBO Documentarian

The Media and the Iraq War

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The media is not correctly covering the Iraq War, but American citizens are also overly passive about the war.

Edet Belzberg

Edet Belzberg is a documentary filmmaker whose coverage of the life of Romanian street children in the film "Childeren Underground" won her both acclaim and criticism for its depiction of the child abuse. Her latest film, "The Recruiter" premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. It portrays a top U.S. army recruiter and his relationship with four of his recruits as they complete high school and go through basic training.

Belzberg received a B.A. in 1991 from the University of Colorado, Boulder and an M.A. in 1997 from the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University. She received the Columbia University School of Journalism's John M. Patterson Enterprise Award in 1997 for her documentary short "A Master Violinist," about a Chinese political refugee. Belzberg made Children Underground with assistance from the Soros Documentary Fund (now the Sundance Documentary Fund). The film won the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival (2001), and received the Best Documentary Film Award from the International Documentary Association (2001), as well as nomination for an Oscar. Her 2005 documentary, Gymnast, studied three American female gymnasts preparing for the Olympic Games. In 2005, she received the MacArthur "Genius" award, about which she says, "This is life-altering and seemingly unfathomable. It provides a documentary filmmaker with an incredible amount of freedom."

She lives in New York City, where she has been a frequent guest lecturer on urban reporting and documentary filmmaking at the Columbia School of Journalism, and has also taught at NYU.

Question: Is the mainstream media properly covering the Iraq War?


Edet Belzburg:  I think there are a lot of restrictions. I think now there’s-- I think that there are a lot of restrictions of covering the war. And I think that, you know, you see ebbs and flows of media coverage of the war. I don’t think it’s enough. I don’t think it’s enough. But I think that we-- it’s not just the media, but we as American citizens have also responsibility. I mean, there’s the idea of war fatigue. You know, and feature films, you know, are failing at the box office because they have to do with the war. Documentaries are failing because they have to do with the war. And the whole idea of war fatigue is really disturbing. The least we can do is continue to absorb the information about what’s happening. I think it’s media and it’s also an individual’s responsibility.


Recorded on: 07/16/2008