Andrew Berends, Cameraman on Oscar-Winning ‘Free Solo,’ Dies at 46

The documentarian made several films that shed light on conflicts across the globe, particularly in Africa

andrew berends
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“Free Solo” cameraman and documentary filmmaker Andrew Berends has died. He was 46.

Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, co-director of the Oscar-winning film, posted a tribute to her “wonderful friend” on Instagram Sunday.

“We have lost a wonderful friend and an important filmmaker,” wrote Vasarhelyi, whom he collaborated with on several films, including “Incorruptible,” “Little Troopers” and most recently “Free Solo,” which won the Best Documentary Feature Oscar earlier this year.

“You touched so many lives,” she continued. “I know the pain you felt was profound, real and relentless. I know you suffered. I can only hope you have finally found some peace and justice as you so deserve it. I’m sorry it was this way. Our community lost an amazing person. I will always love and remember you Andy.”

His cause of death was not released Sunday.

Berends made several films that shed light on conflicts across the globe, particularly in Africa. During the filming of “Delta Boys,” which explored the militancy in the oil-rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria, he was arrested, detained for 10 days, and expelled from the country by the Nigerian government in a bid to suppress media coverage of the conflict.

His first documentary, “Urk,” about Dutch fishermen on the North Sea, was nominated for the International Documentary Association’s Pare Lorentz Award, and was awarded the International Documentary Association “Courage Under Fire” award for his film “The Blood of My Brother” about an Iraqi family whose son was killed by an American patrol.

Read Vasarhelyi’s complete tribute in the post below.