Berends made it out of the harrowing 10-day situation with the help of his friend and fellow filmmaker Aaron Soffin (right), who organized a large network of filmmakers, journalists, and politicians which came to include Mariane Pearl and Senator Hillary Clinton, to pressure the Nigerian government to release Berends:
Although he was never formally accused of a crime, Mr. Berends, 36, was held in Nigeria without food and water for 30 hours (fearful of exposing his sources, he managed to swallow the SIM card from his cellphone that carried their names and numbers). He managed brief phone conversations with Mr. Soffin. “I got the message from him that everything possible was being done,” Mr. Berends said this past Friday. “Knowing it was happening was very comforting.”
Soffin is now headed to Rwanda to make a documentary about that country’s genocide. Unflappable!