Giles Duley Documentary w/t (1 x 60′) – Docuementary film following British photographer Giles Duley as he undertakes his first major photographic assignment since he sustained horrific injuries after stepping on a landmine in Afghanistan – leaving him a triple amputee.
It was only 18 months ago, whilst embedded with the US army that Giles sustained his injuries – for some time it seemed unlikely that he would survive. For four months he hovered between life and death and his recovery is astonishing. After a year at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Unit, Headley Court, Giles is now living independently and walking on new prosthetic legs.
The first thing Giles checked immediately after the explosion was that his right hand was intact. He remembers his first thought: “I can still work as a photographer.” But he is yet to prove to himself – more than anyone else,- that he is as skilled as ever – this film documents the immense physical and mental challenges he has to overcome to go back to work.
This film will chart the story of Giles’ recovery – he is one of the most severely injured civilians ever to have survived injuries of this nature and is a success story of modern battlefield medicine. The film will capture his reunion with the medevac team who saved his life, who are inspired by his determination and will feature interviews with the surgeons and medical staff who helped him rebuild his life.
It will also feature interviews with those closest to him – including his girlfriend Jen as together they tell their extraordinary story of how they became a couple. Jen and Giles had been ‘pen-pals’ for two years before they met, having been introduced on email by a mutual friend. They would write long, often confessional emails to each other as Giles travelled the world photographing the legacy of war in places like Sudan and Angola.
When they eventually went on a date, it was love at first sight, although neither made the confession. Giles left for his assignment in Afghanistan but on arrival in Kabul, Giles couldn’t contain himself and emailed Jen to tell her she was ‘the one’. She responded that she felt the same. But Giles never received her email. It was sent the day he stepped on the landmine. He says when he stepped on the mine he didn’t see his past life flashing in front of him but his future: “I thought about Jen and how I knew she was the person I had been looking for all my life. I remember thinking I wasn’t ready to give up on that..'”
Four months after his return to Britain, Giles was well enough to see her. Both were terrified but Jen came to the hospital, and has really never left his side since. Jen, a trainee clinical psychologist, has been one of the main spurs to Giles’ recovery.
Giles has spent much of his professional life documenting people whose bodies have been torn apart by war. Now he has become one of them and he talks candidly in this film about just how disabled he has become – the film documents his struggle to complete his daily routine – and his new found insight into how the world views people with disabilities.
Channel: Channel 4
Producer: Minnow Films
Source: Channel 4 press release