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A filmmaking legend

This is a picture of a true hero – Max Stahl – and the spot he is crouched in is where in 1991 you could say he saved the lives of thousands of people, and helped birth a nation.

In 'The Sea Decides', you'll see a brief glimpse of East Timor. Due to time constraints in the editing room, I couldn't include as much of it as I wanted to, but the visit there during the expedition really changed my life. And one of the big reasons for that was because I met this guy – Max Stahl.

The following is the Instagram text I wrote about him at the time. I don't think I can write it any better to be honest – so I'll just repeat it here:

"So I have had the honour of interviewing this guy over the past couple of days – Max Stahl. The reason it was an honour is because on the 12th of November, 1991, he crouched in this very spot – inside the Santa Cruz Cemetery in Dili, East Timor – and somehow held his nerve to film the massacre of about 250 people by Indonesian soldiers just a few metres away.

"It was the footage he shot that day that provided the proof of what the East Timorese people had been telling the international community for years about Indonesian military's occupation of their country, and eventually forced the Indonesians to leave and provide the opportunity for this tiny nation's independence.

"After watching the footage Max shot that day, I hate to think what fate awaited the East Timorese people if he had not had the extreme bravery to crouch on this spot and hold the camera to his eye.

"A true inspiration to me – because on that day he somehow saw through the horror before him, when every instinct he had must have been telling him to run, to know that what he did in that moment could save the lives of thousands. And the this own life was worth risking for them.

"A picture I'll treasure for a long long time."


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