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OPINION | PAPER TRAILS: Life, work of Little Rock filmmaker Brent Renaud remembered in GQ article

by Sean Clancy | May 15, 2022 at 4:04 a.m.

The late Little Rock documentary filmmaker Brent Renaud was remembered in an April 22 article at

Brooklyn, N.Y.-based writer David Alm spoke with Renaud's friends and colleagues for the piece, which is headlined "Ukraine Was Brent Renaud's Last Assignment. He Leaves a Legacy of Brilliant Documentary Filmmaking."

On March 13, Renaud was fatally shot by Russian forces in Irpin, a suburb of Kyiv, where he was filming for a TIME Studios documentary about the global refugee crisis. The 50-year-old was the first American journalist killed while reporting on the war in Ukraine.

Renaud, along with his brother, Craig, founded the Little Rock Film Festival and worked on documentaries with The New York Times, National Geographic, Vice and other outlets. "Meth Storm," their 2017 HBO documentary, was an unflinching look at the plague of methamphetamine addiction in rural Arkansas. They won a Peabody Award in 2014 for "Last Chance High," their eight-part documentary for Vice about a Chicago school for at-risk students.

Alm, a journalism professor at Hunter College of the City University of New York, wasn't familiar with Renaud's work, but soon learned that they had several things in common.

"There were so many aspects of his life and his work that dovetailed with my own," he says. "I moved to New York in the '90s like he did; I'm interested in people's stories, and that's what he focused on. I also have a background in documentary film."

In the days after Renaud's death, Alm watched two of his films -- "Dope Sick Love" and "Meth Storm" -- and started reading as much as he could about him.

"I found his work so deeply affecting," he says. "What made it so wonderful was the combination of distance and intimacy he struck. He was able to tell the stories of people he did not have a personal connection to, and do it in a very humanistic way."

Alm wants readers to know more about Renaud, whose low-profile approach to his work focused on others and not himself.

"This was a man who devoted his life to telling human stories. He told the stories nobody else was telling, and I thought it was important that someone tell his story. I wanted to report on him with the same humanistic intention that he approached in his own work."

Read the article at


Print Headline: GQ article remembers filmmaker


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