Hostage

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Hostage! is a multi-part series documenting the harrowing personal experiences and ultimate path to freedom of people captured and held hostage, sometimes for months, even years. With dramatic first person narrative, the hostage will take us through his or her emotional ordeal. Meticulous recreations and intricate CGI will fill in the gaps so that the viewer feels what the innocent victim felt, saw, smelled and feared at the hands of his or her ruthless captors. Their story will be supplemented with interviews with frantic family members and friends, as well as psychiatrists, military commanders and law enforcement as necessary.

Roy Hallums

Hallums, a civilian contractor held captive in Iraq. Hallums was captured on November 1st 2004 when 20 gunmen stormed the compound where he worked supplying food to the Iraqi army. Bound, gagged and confined in a tiny concrete underground cell, a small breathing pipe his only link to the outside world, he remained buried alive for 311 days. His insurgent captors released a videotape showing Hallums with a gun to his head, saying “I am asking for help because my life is in danger.” His frantic family set up a website to appeal for his release and went on Al Jazeera to plead with his captors for mercy. Hallums was eventually freed when U.S special forces heroically stormed a farmhouse 15 miles south of Baghdad. Afterwards he called his daughter and said, quite simply, “This is Dad.”

Ingrid Betancourt Pulecio

On 23 February 2002, Betancourt, former senator, anti-corruption activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee was kidnapped by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). She had decided courageously to campaign in rebel-controlled areas despite warnings from the government, police and military not to do so. She was rescued by Colombian security forces six and a half years later on 2 July 2008.

Jill Carroll

Carroll is a former journalist (now a firefighter) who was on assignment in Iraq for the Christian Science Monitor in 2006 when she was kidnapped as her interpreter was gunned down. Her father appealed for his daughter’s release on CNN. A videotape of Carroll wearing a headscarf and crying was accompanied by a demand from a group calling itself the “Brigades of Vengeance” to release all women from Iraqi prisons. The U.S. released five female prisoners, and subsequently Carroll was set free and returned for an emotional reunion with her family in Boston. She said, “I finally feel like I am alive again… to feel the sun directly on your face—to see the whole sky. These are luxuries that we just don’t appreciate every day.”

Erica Pratt

7 year-old Erica was abducted in July 2002 from a Philadelphia sidewalk. Her captors bound her hands and feet and held her in a deserted house. Amazingly she managed to free herself by gnawing through the duct tape used by her kidnappers. Philadelphia’s police inspector William Colarulo commented on Pratt’s escape from captivity, stating, “I have twenty-one years in the Police Department, and I have never seen this kind of heroic act of bravery committed by a 7 year-old.”

Alan Johnston

Johnston is a BBC journalist who kidnapped by a group of Palestinian extremists in March 2007. His abduction brought worldwide protests and because of the perception that his reporting on the Middle East had a long history of fairness there was considerable dissent among extremist groups themselves. So much so that Hamas threatened to hunt down the kidnappers and kill them all. They relented and release Johnston unharmed after 4 months. He still reports for the BBC to this day.

George Malbrunot and Christian Chesnot

Malbrunot and Chesnot are French journalists who were taken hostage by the Islamic Army in Iraq on August 20, 2004. Their Syrian driver was taken hostage as well. The kidnappers gave the French government a 48-hour deadline to repeal the infamous law against girls wearing the Muslim veil in school. Both hostages were released in December 2004, and the Syrian driver was released by U.S. Marines in November 2004.

Terry Waite

Waite is a priest, hostage negotiator and special envoy who was sent by the Church of England to Lebanon in 1987 to help secure the release of hostages. Waite was himself abducted and held hostage, spending 4 years in solitary confinement, chained most of the time to a radiator. Following his release Waite has made tireless efforts to help other hostages around the world.

Terry Anderson

Abducted March 16th 1985 in Beirut, Anderson was held hostage for 6 years and 9 months by Hezbollah radicals. When finally released Anderson had a joyful reunion with his family and met the daughter he had never seen who was by then 6 years old. He says he has forgiven his captors and remains a strong advocate of freedom of speech.

Patty Hearst

When two black men and a white woman took 19-year-old newspaper heiress, Patty Hearst captive from her Berkeley apartment in 1974 it caused a media sensation. But when Hearst appeared two months later holding an automatic weapon and robbing a bank the world was shocked. What happened in those two months. Why was she so involved in the robbery. Was she brainwashed? Or was it the whole thing a conspiracy?

Hostage! will transport viewers into that cramped cell, that filthy underground hole to feel the hostage’s ordeal first hand. We will learn how an innocent human being learns to cope with the fear of dying each and every day. How does the relationship with his or her captors grow over time? Does Stockholm Syndrome exist? What keeps them going? And how did captivity change their lives? Are they bitter, or like Terry Waite and Terry Anderson, do they dedicate their lives the cause of helping others who are taken hostage?