Directed by David Schisgall, the 86-minute documentary Theo Who Lived (Zeitgeist Films, 2016) relates the story of Theo Padnos, an American journalist taken prisoner in Syria by a branch of Al Qaeda, which held him for 22 months. Fluent in Arabic, Padnos was suspected of being a CIA agent and was tortured. Eventually and remarkably, however, he became a confidante of the head of the terrorist branch. The government of Qatar helped negotiate Padnos's release.
For Theo Who Lived, which is in English and Arabic (with English subtitled), Padnos returned to the Middle East to narrate the steps of his journey and "perform" his memories. Below is the film's trailer. The documentary was screened in New York on October 7, in Los Angeles on October 21, and in Washington, D.C., at Filmfest DC, on October 29. Screenings also took place this month in Hanover, New Hampshire (November 5), Milwaukee, Wisconsin (November 9), Pelham, New York (November 10), and Seattle, at Northwest Film Forum (November 16).
Peter Theo Curtis is the journalist's real name.
Read Theo Padnos, "My Captivity", The New York Times Magazine, October 29, 2014.
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