Back to Films

Sergio

Synopsis

Based on Pulitzer Prize-winning author Samantha Power's biography Chasing the Flame, SERGIO revolves around the gripping and inspiring story of Sergio Vieira de Mello's most treacherous mission ever. In the summer of 2003, Sergio Vieira de Mello had evolved from the radical, stone-throwing revolutionary of his youth into a master diplomat and head of the UN's mission in Iraq. He did not want the job as he had opposed the war to begin with yet Sergio arrived in Baghdad with his unusual style and panache, accompanied by his "A Team" - the best and brightest experts the UN had to offer - and his colleague and fiancée Carolina. Assuming the Bush Administration -- having begged him to go Iraq -- actually wanted his advice, he set about trying to end the occupation as soon as possible. Instead, he found himself accused as being a tool of the Americans by the growing insurgency. On August 19, 2003, a huge truck bomb exploded directly beneath his office, instantly killing many of his own but Sergio himself remained alive. As Carolina searched desperately through the rubble, two American firefighters from the Army reserves selflessly climbed into the claustrophobic tomb of the collapsed building in what would be become an intense and desperate struggle to survive.

 

Connect

Learn more about SERGIO:

The Filmmakers

Greg Barker Director/Producer

A former war correspondent, Greg Barker draws on his years of experience overseas – filming and working in more than 50 countries across six continents – to make thought-provoking, character-driven documentaries about the complex world in which we live. His films include the award-winning GHOSTS OF RWANDA and several other investigative films for the flagship PBS series "Frontline." SERGIO is his first feature documentary.

Julie Goldman

Julie Goldman has over 15 years of experience as a producer specializing in raising financing for documentary films. Goldman is a founding partner of Cactus Three, a New York based company that executive produces high-end documentary films and non-fiction programming. Since establishing Cactus Three in 2003, Goldman has executive produced an award-winning slate of films working with a line-up of talented and acclaimed filmmakers. Cactus Three's feature documentaries have screened at the most prestigious film festivals around the world, including Cannes, Sundance, Toronto, Berlin, Tribeca and London.

Goldman executive produced DOUBLETIME (Discovery Films); SXSW Audience Award winner CAT DANCERS (HBO Documentary Films); ALEXIS ARQUETTE: SHE'S MY BROTHER (A&E IndieFilms/Channel 4), which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival; and 2007 Sundance Audience Award winner IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON, which was released by THINKFilm.

John Battsek Producer

John Battsek runs Passion Pictures' film department and is one of the most successful and prolific feature documentary producers in the UK. In 1999 Battsek conceived and produced ONE DAY IN SEPTEMBER which won an Academy Award in 2000 and an Emmy in 2001. He has since been responsible for a variety of high profile feature documentaries all of which have been theatrically released across the globe. These include: LIVE FOREVER (Selected for the 2005 London Film Festival); ONCE IN A LIFETIME (nominated for the 2007 WGA Award, 2006 IDA award and selected for 2006 Berlin Film festival); BLACK SUN (Nominated for a BAFTA in 2007, winner Grand Jury prize 2006 Newport and Sarasota Film festival, selected for 2005 Toronto and London Film festivals) and PEACE ONE DAY (nominated 2004 BIFA Best Documentary) in 2004.

 

Festivals & Awards

Sundance Film Festival

2009

Winner - Documentary Editing Prize

Primetime Emmy Award

2010

Nominee - Exceptional Merit in Nonfiction Filmmaking

IDFA

2009

Official Selection

Reviews

Astounding archival footage, remarkable access and solid source material can’t hurt a nonfiction filmmaker, but helmer Greg Barker is also blessed with an inspiring subject in SERGIO, his life-and-death story about dashing, high-minded U.N. envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello, whose career was about nothing if not life and death.”

-Variety

SERGIO is two movies, one that you expect and one you don’t, and that potent combination makes this a documentary of exceptional power.”

-LA Times

Outreach Resources

HBO Teachers' Guide

+ hbo.com

Teaching Tolerance

Teaching Tolerance works to promote respect for differences and appreciation of diversity in the classroom and beyond.

+ tolerance.org

United Nations Foundation

The UN Foundation builds and implements public/private partnerships to address the world's most pressing problems, and works to broaden support for the UN through advocacy and public outreach.

+ unfoundation.org

Campus Progress

Campus Progress, part of the Center for American Progress, works to help young people -- advocates, activists, journalists, artists -- make their voices heard on issues that matter.

+ campusprogress.org

The Enough Project

Enough is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity.

+ enoughproject.org

The Council on Foreign Relations

+ cfr.org

Refugees International

Refugees International is a Washington, D.C.-based organization that advocates to end refugee crises.

+ refintl.org

Amnesty International USA

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.2 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide.

+ amnestyusa.org