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Ross Kemp: Documenting Extreme Stories

Actor and award-winning documentary maker Ross Kemp’s investigative journalism series covers a range of extreme situations, from gang culture to conflict zones to border stand-offs. During a Talks at GS session, Kemp discussed the experience of capturing compelling stories in dangerous situations.

On what motivates him to make films: “[Filming in hostile situations], you get an understanding of human beings. That’s the whole point why we make these films. I’m interested, genuinely interested, in human beings – not just the ones that live down the road from me, but ones that live on the other side of the world from me.”

On traveling to dangerous locations to get interviews: “People think that there are ex-SAS guys or maybe Navy SEALs hanging around the back of the door. We don’t have that and we’d never get the interviews or the access that we do if we walked in with [security], because it would put the people we’re interviewing on the back foot straight away. They wouldn’t trust us and would be scared that we were setting them up to be arrested, depending on who the interviewee is. The hardest thing isn’t necessarily getting the interview – it’s getting to the location of the interview in the first place.”