When Michael Ware went to Iraq for TIME magazine in early 2003, before the U.S. invasion began, he carried along a handheld camcorder. It stayed with him for the terrible years he remained in the country, a kind of personal video diary now fashioned into an HBO documentary called Only the Dead See the End of War.
HBO begins airing the preview on the evening of Monday, March 7. The 90-minute documentary itself—which contains brutal scenes of gore and dread—is slated to premiere March 28.
Co-directed by two-time Oscar-winner Bill Guttentag, Only the Dead is very much about Ware, who left TIME in 2006 to work for CNN, and is now independent. First in the Afghan battlefield of Kandahar, then in Iraq, the Australian was an obsessive and ambitious reporter who was the opposite of risk-averse. He embedded with U.S. forces but also befriended Iraqi insurgents, eventually opening a conduit to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the founder of what is today known as ISIS, a figure who haunts the film. Ware also wrote, produced and narrates, in a gravely Sam Spade voice-over by way of Brisbane.