The New York Times Op-Docs
The harrowing and desperate journeys undertaken by refugees risking their lives to cross the Mediterranean to find safe haven in Europe has been one of the largest and most-documented media stories of the past two years. Understandably, these stories have been told primarily from the perspective of the refugees themselves or through a larger geopolitical lens. What’s different about 4.1 Miles is its raw imagery recording the experience of one man thrust into the breach to rescue refugees from flimsy rubber dinghies in turbulent waters. The boat ride from Turkey to the island of Lesbos, Greece is a little over four miles (hence the title) but the unpredictable, choppy waters of the Mediterranean can make it seem like an unbridgeable chasm. It’s these waters that Greek Coast Guard Captain Kyriakos Papadopoulos patrols and it’s his story and that of his crew that filmmaker Daphne Matziaraki viscerally captures in her remarkable film. Matziaraki’s camera records these rescues from the Captain’s point of view—the chaotic, desperate rescues in a boat that never stops moving. Papadopoulos’ quiet exhaustion is evident on his face. As heroic as he may seem, he’s not a hero; he’s an ordinary man in extraordinary circumstances who makes a choice to step in to help, not to judge or to question, simply to help. For bearing witness to a global crisis and compelling viewers to question their own compassion, 4.1 Miles receives a Peabody Award.
PRIMARY PRODUCTION CREDITS
Director: Daphne Matziaraki. Executive Producer: Kathleen Lingo. Producer: Daphne Matziaraki. Coordinating Producer: Lindsay Crouse. Editor: Daphne Matziaraki. Supervising Editor: Andrew Blackwell. Cinematography: Daphne Matziaraki. Sound: James Pace-Cornsilk. Music: William Ryan Fritch. Consulting Producers: Orlando Bagwell, Dan Krauss, Pete Knicks, Spencer Nakasako.