Director Matthew Heineman on ‘A Private War’

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The new film ‘A Private War’ tells the story of journalist Marie Colvin, a war correspondent who wrote visceral and award-winning reports for the British newspaper The Sunday Times from 1985 until her death in 2012.

‘A Private War’ follows Colvin over the years, as she reports on some of the world’s most brutal conflicts--including the Sri Lankan Civil War, where she lost use of her left eye in an explosion, and thereafter sported a distinctive black eye patch.

Rosamund Pike plays Colvin in the film, which also explores the complicated and sometimes contradictory reasons why someone would be drawn to cover foreign wars in the first place.

The director of ‘A Private War’ is Matthew Heineman. This is his first narrative feature, but he’s no stranger to filmmaking. For the past decade he’s made documentaries--many of them on subjects not unlike something Colvin herself would have covered.

His 2017 documentary ‘City of Ghosts’ followed Syrian activists in exile, fleeing ISIS.  Before that, Heineman embedded with vigilantes fighting Mexican drug cartels on the US-Mexico border for his Oscar-nominated 2015 film ‘Cartel Land.’

When Heineman recently spoke to Kim Masters, he said his path to documentaries began when his life plan post-college fell through. He takes us through his early doc days as well as talks about more recent projects, and explains why he decided to make the jump to narrative filmmaking for ‘A Private War.’ As for which he’d like to do going forward--docs or narratives--Heineman says he’s interested in doing both.




Kim Masters


Kaitlin Parker