Michael Ware


'Only the Dead' to premiere June 10 at Sydney Film Festival

Michael Ware has seen the best and worst in people
and his war documentary confronts it all

  • Jonathan Moran, Chief Entertainment Writer
  • The Daily Telegraph
  • May 05, 2015 5:47PM

Journalist Michael Ware’s confronting war documentary Only The Dead
will make its Australian debut at the Sydney International Film Festival.

MICHAEL Ware’s confronting war documentary Only The Dead will have its Australian premiere at the Sydney International Film Festival.
The former CNN correspondent’s feature will tomorrow be unveiled in the line up for the 62nd annual festival as one of 10 films vying for the Documentary Australia Foundation Award.
The 87 minute film is the story of Ware’s brush with extremist terrorist Abu Mousab al Zarqawi, founder of Islamic State who was killed in a US air strike in Iraq in 2006.
“It is a brush with history that set me off on a journey that led me to a part of my own soul I never knew I had,” Ware explained.
Only The Dead is already attracting a lot of attention in the US and elsewhere internationally, where distribution options are currently being negotiated.
Ware presented a private screening of the film for US policy makers and digniatories in Washington DC in February.
The title
Only The Dead comes from the expression, “only the dead have seen the end of war”.
“It is about more than Iraq and Zarqawi. It is about all wars, and what they do to us all; soldiers, civilians, enemies, friends. It is about seeing good men do evil, and evil men do good. In the end it is about that darkness lurking deep inside all of us.”

Journalist Michael Ware in Baghdad speaks with CNN anchor Anderson Cooper.

Ware, 46, co-wrote the film with former Newsweek US executive editor Justine Rosenthal, and co-directed the project with Oscar winner Bill Guttentag.
He concedes the footage shown will be shocking to many but believes it is a story that must be told.
“We cannot shy away from what we do to our children when we send them to war, to shy away from what is being done in our name, and to shy away from those dark parts of our soul that lie buried inside all of us,” he said.
What sets the film apart is it’s unwitting portrayal of both sides of the conflict shot by Ware with a $300 handycam he used as a notebook during his seven years on assignment in Iraq.
“It is footage I recorded of the things I couldn’t write down in the heat of battle,” he said.
“The film has some of the most intimate, most intense combat footage ever of the Iraq war.”

CNN correspondent Michael Ware
Only the Dead premieres June 10th -- click here to visit the SFF page with more information