Lifesavers

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Josh Fortune

Short film

Josh Fortune
Senior lecturer in Digital Film Production and Contextual Studies 2012

During my time as a cameraman in Afghanistan, I was involved in over fifty firefights. As a result I frequently saw wounded coalition troops, Taliban, and civilians. Like clockwork, after an injury, a brave team of airborne medics would always swoop down and rescue the casualty – even Taliban! I was so inspired by this that I requested to embed with them, and was thrilled to spend two weeks with a crew in Summer 2010. We would sit in a tent playing cards, watching DVDs, passing the time, waiting for the radio to chime in with ‘Medevac! Medevac! Medevac!’. The moment these words were uttered, the crew would spring into action, sprinting to their helicopter. The general guideline was the helicopter had to be airborne within five minutes, ensuring that the casualty would usually get to a medical aid station within an hour (a lifesaving term known as ‘The Golden Hour’, which makes a tremendous difference in the rate of survival for critically injured people). The crew would often do over five or six rescues per day, having to deal with bleeding, limbless – sometimes dying – people, some of whom were small children. They would have to leave their emotions at the door, and focus on the job at hand. I am a firm believer that a picture paints a thousand words, and thus I created this short film – without interviews or voiceovers – to give an insight into their hellish, selfless world.