The Little Boat: A Bittersweet Tale of Persistence and Adversity

The Little Boat: A Bittersweet Tale of Persistence and Adversity

The Little Boat is a bittersweet, sometimes heartbreaking minimalist five-minute animated short film by CalArts student Nelson Boles. After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in September 2005, Boles enrolled in the Teen Program at The Animation Academy in Burbank. He was a 16 year-old young man from New Orleans, a refugee from the storm. Later, when things got back to semi-normal in New Orleans, he returned home.

The Little Boat imbues life into an obstinately mundane object, as the little red the dinghy steadfastly pushes forward through storms, floods and wars. One shot, at the 2:10 mark in the film, shows the little boat resolutely thrusting forward upon the stormy seas, only to have its mast shattered in half; it’s as heartbreaking a moment as anything that could happen to a more conventional animated character with eyes, hands and legs.

The Little Boat: A Bittersweet Tale of Persistence and Adversity

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Visions: Tim Hetherington’s Theater of War

Visions: Tim Hetherington’s Theater of War

Visions: Images of Libya from a Fallen Photographer

Last week, an upcoming gallery show of work by the late photographer Tim Hetherington was announced, the inaugural exhibition of The Bronx Documentary Center that was founded earlier this year. The exhibition, titled Visions, is a collection of never-before-seen photos by Hetherington, a British-American photographer who lived in Brooklyn. He was a longtime Vanity Fair contributor who died in April while covering the conflict in Libya, along with fellow conflict photographer and Brooklyn resident Chris Hondros.

It is amazingly ironic that the announcement of the exhibition of Tim Hetherington’s work coincided precisely with published reports that Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the erratic, provocative dictator who ruled Libya for 42 years, had finally met a violent and vengeful death in the hands of the Libyan forces that drove him from power.

Hetherington was most famous for his Academy Award-nominated 2010 documentary Restrepo, which he filmed with Sebastian Junger in 2007. The film follows the Army platoon assigned to what was then the most dangerous posting in Afghanistan, The Korengal Valley, to clear it of insurgents and gain the trust of the local populace. In the course of the film, the platoon builds a new outpost they name after Juan Sebastian Restrepo, a comrade who was killed during the early days of the 15-month assignment.

On April 20, Hetherington was trailing rebels in the besieged coastal city of Misurata in Libya, when he and Hondros were killed in an explosion from a rocket-propelled grenade. He left behind 40 rolls of undeveloped 220mm film. The negatives revealed a fascinating mix of what Tim called “the theater of war,” men strutting with their guns, as well as landscapes, graffiti, and men firing guns and rocket-propelled grenades in battle. And a vase of plastic flowers in a bullet-marked room. Seventeen of the prints will be on display in the Bronx Documentary Center show as 36- by 30-inch prints hanging from the ceiling on two large wood panels, beginning October 22nd.

Tim Hetherington: Always a Few Steps Ahead

Long Story Bit by Bit: Liberia Retold

Award-Winning Photographer and Film Director Tim Hetherington Killed in Libya

The Death of Award-Winning Photographer Tim Hetherington

Oscar-nominated documentary-maker Tim Hetherington, co-creator of the Sundance-winning documentary Restrepo, was killed in the besieged city of Misurata covering fighting between Muammar Gaddafi’s forces and the opposition. A British citizen who lived in New York, Hetherington had covered conflicts with sensitivity in Liberia, Afghanistan, Darfur and, in recent weeks, Libya. Hetherington was in Libya to continue his multimedia project highlighting humanitarian issues during times of war and conflict.

Photo-journalist Chris Hondros, a US Pulitzer finalist who worked for Getty Images, was also killed. Hetherington and Hondros were among eight to 10 journalists reporting from Tripoli Street in Misrata. When shooting broke out, they took shelter against a wall, which was hit by fire. Hetherington died soon after arriving at hospital. Hetherington wrote in his last post on Twitter on Tuesday: “In besieged Libyan city of Misrata. Indiscriminate shelling by Gaddafi forces. No sign of NATO.”

Restrepo won the 2010 Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at Sundance, and was a 2011 Oscar Nominee for Best Documentary, Features. The movie is a stunning chronicle of one U.S. platoon, which was posted in one of the most dangerous valleys in Afghanistan. The film was made as part of Hetherington’s ongoing mission to bring the hardships of war into the public eye.

Diary is one of Hetherington’s most recent works, a documentary short film that presents a dreamlike composition of insightful juxtapositions about his war experiences, composed of carefully conceived montages and almost inchoate sounds. It is similar in spirit to his impressionistic documentary short Sleeping Soldiers of 2009.

Viewers can read more about Tim Hetherington in The New York Times here.

Restropo: 2011 Nominated Oscar Best Documentary, Features (Trailer)

Tim Hetherington’s Disquieting ‘Diary

Tim Hetherington: Sleeping Soldiers

Photo-Gallery: Visions/Tim Hetherington’s Theater of War

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