Cast

Mark Henderson [British, hostage]

Mark Henderson

Mark was at the tail end of a five-month trip to Latin America when he was kidnapped. The trek to the Lost City was one of the last things he was going to do before flying home from Bogota. At 31 he was the oldest in the group and the only Briton after 19 year-old Matthew Scott escaped on the first day. He celebrated his 32nd birthday in the mountains and was given two cigarettes from Ido as a present. Mark was released on the 22nd December 2003 with Ido and Erez and two other Israelis, Beny and Orpaz. He had been held 101 days.

How did the kidnap affect you?
In the days and weeks after our release I just stayed inside in my parents' house. I think I needed to be somewhere safe. Then I was overcome by a feeling of invincibility, that if I can survive that, then I can survive anything. But that didn't last as well. About five months after the kidnapping I felt like my world was collapsing around me. Luckily a psychologist explained that it was symptomatic of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. As soon as she put a name on it and I realised I wasn't going mad, I started to accept it and recover. In the long term, it's changed my outlook on life, but I would say for the better.

Why did you want to go back?
During the kidnap I always questioned why this was happening to us. I was always asking the guards to explain why we were being held, what was it for, who was gaining from what we were going through. As soon as I received that first email from Antonio, I knew I could find all the answers. Also. out of curiosity and to remember. I think the six years since the kidnapping had made me forget certain elements of the experience. I wanted to be reminded what we went through, to remember how important it was and how we survived.

What did going back achieve for you?
I got all the answers I was looking for. I spoke to everyone involved, from the army to my parents, to the people we were supposedly being held for, to Antonio and Camila. Also the process of making the film, allowed me to stand back from the experience and understand how it affected other people - all the people I've already mentioned, but especially my fellow hostages.

What are your thoughts about the kidnapping now?
I remember a journalist asked me a few weeks after my release, whether I wished it had never happened to me, or was I glad that it had happened, knowing what I know now and being a free man. It seems odd to say that I'm glad I was kidnapped. It is something I went through and survived. Making the film has only solidified that.

Reinhilt Weigel [German, hostage]

Reinhilt Weigel

Reini was working as a physiotherapist in a hospital in Switzerland and had taken unpaid leave to indulge her passion for climbing in Peru. After hurting her Achilles tendon, she had to change plans and traveled to Colombia instead. Her three months away were almost up and she was due to fly home on the 24th of September. She never made her flight.

A few days after her 31st birthday, Reini was released on the 24th November 2003 along with a Spanish man, Asier Huegun. She had been held for 74 days.

How did the kidnap affect you?
In many ways!! Physically: I have had constant back-trouble since the kidnapping. Mentally: I have had panic attacks and terrible nightmares. I had difficulty getting my life back in order. It had a big impact on the person I am: it made me more aware of my own mortality.

Further more it all got magnified and impossible to digest because of the subsequent court case with the German government, which has caused immense stress and still keeps me attached to the kidnapping. I lost my third appeal in May 2009, and still have to pay 12640 euros. But the problems with my health mean I can't work and earn this money at the moment. It's like a black cloud that keeps following me.

Why did you want to go back?
I was hoping to get answers. I was curious to meet Antonio and Camila because I knew they could answer questions that no one else could. I was hoping it would help me with closure, as well as drawing some attention to my court case.

What did going back achieve for you?
The intense engagement with the kidnapping itself, talking to the 3 others non-stop about the experience, talking to people that were involved and affected by our kidnapping, it all put a different light on our story and worked like an amazing therapy for me. Sometimes it was all too much, not having a break from the subject, and I just wanted a few hours to get away from it and let all this information settle. It was extremely emotional and I was surprised about some of the thoughts and reactions I had.

Finally talking to Antonio and Camila answered a lot of questions and put the final pieces of the puzzle in place.

What are your thoughts now about the kidnapping?
It's still the same story and it was a horrible time out in the jungle, the pain in my back is a constant reminder. But going back lead to answers and I now have a clear picture about how it all happened and why. I feel more at peace with the kidnapping, it was purely bad luck. Just being there and going back to the site where it all began, somehow dissolved some of my fears. Through going back and facing my fears I have been able to move on and put the kidnapping in the past, where it belongs. It feels like the film made it into a story and that is all it is now, just a tricky part of my past.

Ido Guy [Israeli, hostage]

Ido Guy

At the time of the kidnapping Ido Guy was 27. After completing his military service and undergraduate studies in Israel, he had been traveling for 10 months in South America. He was only 10 days away from the end of his trip when the group was kidnapped.

Ido was released on the 22nd December with Mark and Erez and two other Israelis, Beny and Orpaz. He had been held 101 days.

Why did you want to go back?
Closure and curiosity. Especially for how I would feel back there. I wanted to see if it is really all behind me. I wanted to find out how it feels to feel secure in the Sierra mountains. I also thought it would be a unique opportunity, and wanted to have a positive experience with the people I was kidnapped with.

What did going back achieve for you?
Closure... It was great to know that I can feel safe there. I even slept through the night at the hut, which I didn't think I would be able to. It was important to connect back to our story as it had begun to fade away in my memory. It was a positive experience: learning more about the area (we knew so little when we were there) and re-living the kidnap. It was also interesting getting exposed a bit to the process of making a film.

What are your thoughts now about the kidnapping?
Hmm.. very general question. I think of it as a very unique experience I had. And I am glad that I survived it. I'm not sure I would survive it again, I'm much more spoiled now!

Erez Eltawil [hostage]

Erez Eltawil

24 year old Erez had finished his military service two years earlier and had been working to save money for a big South American trip. He had traveled through Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Bolivia and Peru. Colombia was his last stop. He had a flight booked to New York at the end of September, from where he would return home to Tel Aviv. He never made his flight. Like Mark and Reini, Erez celebrated his birthday in captivity.

Erez was released on the 22nd December with Mark and Ido and two other Israelis, Beny and Orpaz. He had been held 101 days.

How were you affected by the kidnap?
In the short run, I did become a little more optimistic, but in the long run, the day-to-day routine takes you back to who you really are. But I do think I have an even greater fear of commitment now.

Why did you want to go back?
I wanted to go back in order to have closure. I needed to see that it's not all bad, and that it was just bad luck that got us into that situation.

What did going back achieve for you?
I now feel better about the whole experience, that's the main achievement for me. I realised that the army used our kidnapping as an excuse to fight the guerillas to the end. Meeting the displaced families just proved what I thought all along about the how the guerillas treated the local people - badly, like they were treating us.

What are your thoughts now about the kidnapping?
I don't think of it much. I mainly laugh about it now because I think it achieved the opposite of what they intended, it only created more of a war between the army and the guerilla.