Brent Renaud, American Documentary Filmmaker and Journalist, Killed in Ukraine

Renaud was known for reporting from sites of geopolitical unrest, including Iraq, Afghanistan, and Egypt.
Brent Renaud
Brent Renaud
Todd Wiillamson/Invision/AP

The Russia-Ukraine war has claimed another casualty, as American documentary filmmaker and photojournalist Brent Renaud had been killed by Russian troops. He was 50 years old.

Renaud, who previously reported from hot spots including Iraq, Afghanistan, Mexico, and Haiti, was in Ukraine to cover the war. He was killed in Irpin, a suburb of Kyiv that has been aggressively hit with Russian artillery fire. The news was confirmed by a member of Kyiv’s regional police force.

In addition to his award-winning work as a journalist, Renaud was an acclaimed documentary filmmaker who maintained an association with the independent film community. Working with his brother Craig, Renaud directed and produced acclaimed documentaries including “Meth Storm” for HBO “Last Chance High” for Vice, the latter of which won a Peabody Award. Renaud was nominated for a DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary in 2006 for “Off to War: Welcome to Baghdad.” The brothers founded the Little Rock Film Festival together, and also produced documentary work for NBC, Discovery, and PBS.

“We are deeply saddened to hear of Brent Renaud’s death,” a New York Times Times spokeswoman said. “Brent was a talented filmmaker who had contributed to The New York Times over the years.” However, the newspaper was careful to clarify that Renaud was not working for them in any capacity on his trip to Ukraine. “Early reports that he worked for The Times circulated because he was wearing a Times press badge that had been issued for an assignment many years ago,” the spokeswoman wrote.

Renaud’s death has been widely mourned by the journalism community. In a tweet, New York Times deputy managing editor Cliff Levy wrote that “Brent’s death is a terrible loss. Brave journalists like Brent take tremendous risks to bear witness and to tell the world about the devastation and suffering caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

Ukraine’s Interior Ministry adviser Anton Gerashchenko praised Renaud for risking his own safety to cover the war, writing in a statement that Renaud “paid with his life for attempting to expose the insidiousness, cruelty and ruthlessness of the aggressor.”

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