En Route to Baghdad

September 9, 2004 - 8:30 pm

A documentary about Sergio Vieira de Mello.

Written and directed by Simone Duarte

In June 2003, Sergio Vieira de Mello, Kofi Annan’s special envoy, arrived in Iraq to deliver a message of hope to a country shattered by war. Less than two months later, a truck bomb exploded outside of his UN office in Baghdad killing Vieira de Mello, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and 21 colleagues.

One year after Vieira de Mello’s death, director/producer Simone Duarte and cinematographer Emmanuel Bastien went on a journey that spanned 9 countries including North Korea, following the path of a man considered to be the UN’s rising star. The film is as much a tribute to the life and work of Vieira de Mello, as it is an exploration of issues that impact the UN’s humanitarian initiatives going forward. The explosion that killed Vieira de Mello marked the first time ever that a UN Mission was attacked. The broader impact of the attack on the UN’s work in trouble spots around the world generally is yet to be determined. The film is 56 minutes long. Free admission.

The film was also produced by Kristine Sorensen Cardoso (Denmark) and AneMary Soares (Brazil); filmed by Emmanuel Bastien (France); edited and also written by Karen Sztajnberg (Brazil); and the original music is from Zé Luís. The documentary was made possible thanks to the fiscal sponsorship from Film/Video Arts, the financial contribution of ANZ Bank, Richard L. Kauffman and Ellen Jewett, Barbara Hendricks Foundation for Peace and Reconciliation, the Consulate General of Brazil and Vieira de Mello’s friends from Singapore. This event has the support of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP – Comunidade de Países de Língua Portuguesa) represented by the governments of Angola, Brazil, Cape Vert, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal, Sao Tome and Principe, and Timor Leste.

Simone Duarte was bureau chief of Brazilian Globo TV’s News Desk in New York for three and a half years. She has produced, written and directed features for Globo TV for more than a decade and her latest feature story on September 11 won her an Emmy Nomination. Her first documentary Archivo de la Identidad has been featured at Human Rights festivals around the world, including Amnesty International’s West Hollywood Film Festival and is currently being promoted in New York by New School University’s Director for the International Affairs Program. She has worked for the United Nations in East Timor and has exclusive footage with Sergio Vieira de Mello from her time there. As a correspondent she won the Honorable Mention from the Association of Correspondents at the United Nations for the feature series she did on East Timor in 2001. She is an Eisenhower Fellow and member of the advisory board.