Sebastian Junger & Nick Quested – Hell On Earth

Sebastian Junger is a New York Times Bestselling author of The Perfect Storm Fire, A Death in Belmont, War and Tribe. As an award-winning journalist he has covered major international news stories around the world, and has received both a National Magazine Award and a Peabody Award. Junger is also a documentary filmmaker whose debut film Restrepo, a feature-length documentary, was nominated for an Academy Award and won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.

He was reporting on Afghanistan back in 2000, profiling Northern Alliance leader Ahmed Shah Massoud, who was assassinated just days before 9/11. This lead to the National Geographic documentary “Into the Forbidden Zone,” and introduced America to the Afghan resistance fighting the Taliban.

Nick Quested is the Executive Director and owner of Goldcrest Films.
He has built one of the premiere documentary brands in the world, winning two Emmys and getting an Oscar nomination for his work.

Nick also served as a producer on Sebastian Junger’s The Last Patrol and over 35 films including Korengal, the PGA and twice Emmy nominated Which Way is the Front Line From Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington, and the Oscar nominated Restrepo (collaborated with Sebastian Junger)

Nick is an award winning director with over 100 music videos and commercials to his credit with world renowned artists such as Common, Dr. Dre, Nas, Fat Joe, Mobb Deep, P. Diddy and many more.

Nick and Junger joined alliances again to create the powerful project Hell On Earth. It got released in April 2017 on the National Geographic Channel , the documentary film looks into the severe conflicts happening in Syria and Iraq.


00:00 Trailer.
01:53 Brian’s thoughts on the episode.
04:17 Brian’s introduction.
05:07 What prompted the making of The Perfect Storm.
07:49 Why groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda materialise from conflicts in some countries and not others.
10:39 It all looks like senseless violence as the wider public cannot understand the various factions.
12:33 How Nick made the documentary despite not being allowed into Syria.
17:14 The core values of journalism they each adhere to when making documentaries.
18:54 Assad is the devil incarnate, but probably safe because of interests of the other Arab Nations.
22:59 Historically nations have perpetrated public violence to exert control over the population.
27:55 The likely outcome of all the violence and turmoil.
30:37 The outlook for the refugee crisis.
33.49 We are at our best when in small groups facing the adversary.
36:21 As horrible as war is, it also brings out some enormously and admirable qualities of people.
36:04 Nick speaks of his long-term collaboration with Sebastian.
40:50 America’s involvement in the Middle Eastern conflict.
42:59 The reaction to the film and what people are taking from it.
45:01 How Sebastian dealt with the death of his colleague Tim Hetherington.
48:04 What it is like to be a journalist in the field.
50:50 Their advice to budding documentary makers.
52:03 The economics of making a documentary.
54:29 Explanation of what is meant by proxy war.
56:12 America’s interest in Syria now.
57:13 Would they consider making a documentary on North Korea or Hezbollah?
58:52 Dealing with hate mail.
1:00:12 Sebastian’s and Nick’s advice to their 20-year-old selves.
1:01:12 Their best film making advice.
1:02:05 What about this world keeps them awake at night.
1:04:21 How to see the documentary film.
1:04:57 Brian’s summing up.

Sebastian Junger and Nick Quested links:
Sebastian Junger website
Sebastian Junger TedTalk

Sebastian Junger on Facebook
Sebastian Junger on Wikipedia
Nick Quested IMDb biography
Nick Quested on Facebook

The Perfect Storm
A Death in Belmont

Hell on Earth
Hell on Earth on Facebook
Restrepo (film)
Korengal (documentary)

Topics discussed:
Arab Spring
Iraq War
Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party – Syrian Region
Egyptian revolution of 2011
Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO)
Republican Guard (Iraq)

People mentioned in this episode:
Tim Hetherington
President Bashar al-Assad
President Hassan Rouhani
Mark Monroe
George Orwell