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Audience Network’s Syria War Doc Producer Details Time in Iraqi Prison

TCA 2017: ”I could hear them torturing people,“ River Rainbow-Hagg says

River Rainbow-Hagg, the producer and central protagonist of an upcoming Syrian war documentary for the Audience Network, told the TCA Winter Press Tour about his harrowing experience in an Iraqi prison.

“ISIS suspects, Iranian spies. It’s not the safest place,” River Rainbow-Hagg joked. “They were torturing people while I was there. I could hear them torturing people. They were psychologically torturing the Westerners… They were just playing mind games with me, telling me I was going to be there for two years, which was pretty bad because I just wanted to get home.”

Thankfully, River-Hagg was only incarcerated for about three weeks, which came at the conclusion of six months spent embedded in Syria.

The untitled documentary, which is also produced by Ricky Schroder, follows River-Hagg as he worked as a medic for a Kurdish militia unit in the thick of combat in the war-torn country.

Because of a trade embargo in Syria, River-Hagg said that he and his fellow medics were forced to manufacture their own bandages and tourniquets. No easy task, considering the ratio of medics to combatants. “There was a total of five of us and there were 4,000 fighting troops,” he said. “We were the only medics.”

Schroder had previously collaborated with River-Hagg on the Afghanistan documentary series “My Fighting Season,” where River-Hagg helped Schroder dodge quite a few bullets.

“You’re so grateful when someone is telling you where the bullets are coming from, that we became instant friends,” Schroder said to a big laugh.