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No ordinary life documentary

“No Ordinary Life” a documentary about pioneering camerawomen

“I’m not an adrenaline junkie. It’s not all about the front lines and bang-bang with me. In war zones, what I care about the most are the civilians, the human beings through no choice of their own, are forced to live in these places.”

This is how Mary Rodgers, photojournalist with the CNN describes her work covering world conflicts. Rodgers is one of five camerawomen with a CNN background portraited in documentary film “No Ordinary Life” by Heather O’Neill, documentary filmmaker based in Atlanta and also with a background in the CNN.

She has followed pioneering camerawomen Mary Rodgers, Cynde Strand, Jane Evans, Maria Fleet and the late Margaret Moth who covered front lines of wars and revolutions from behind their cameras, in a male-dominated field.

“No Ordinary Life” is O’Neill’s directorial debut on a feature documentary film, which had its online world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival this week. She worked on CNN documentaries before the unit was closed down.

Maria Fleet started her career in journalism at an experimental news organization: “Cable News Network.” Based in CNN’s Rome bureau for 10 years, she captured images from the fall of the Berlin Wall and she covered the first Gulf War, Somalia, the falling apart of Yugoslavia, and the wars in Chechnya and Kosovo. She is currently a news desk producer at CNN International in Atlanta.

Jane Evans has since 1981 covered world events in over 100 countries. As a multiple Emmy-Award winning photojournalist and producer with CNN International, she recorded scenes from the civil war in Lebanon, the Iran-Iraq War, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Velvet Revolution, Gulf Wars, Rwanda, Yugoslav Wars, Somalia, to famine in Africa.  After being based in Beirut, Rome, and London, she retired in 2003 and is currently based in New York as a freelancer.

Cynde Strand has for more than 20 years traveled the world as a CNN cameraperson/producer assigned to bureaus in Beirut, Beijing, Nicosia, London and Johannesburg. She covered the Tiananmen Square protests and crackdown, the first Gulf War, the first free and democratic election in South Africa, the aftermath of genocide in Rwanda and famine in Somalia. In 2004, she moved to Atlanta to join the CNN team running international news coverage. She left the CNN in 2019.

Mary Rogers has for the past 40 years covered history up close, as an awardwinning photojournalist with CNN International. Based in Tokyo for seven years, Mary moved to Cairo in 1994, where she lives today. She filmed much of the Arab Spring uprising, from Tunisia to Libya and is still working in the field.

Margaret Moth, originally from New Zealand, travelled the world for CNN, covering war zones and major stories for nearly two decades.  During the war in Sarajevo, in 1992, she was shot in face by a sniper while on assignment.  She survived and after dozens of surgeries, she went back to work – in Sarajevo.

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