“Sergio” prevails at Rockies gala

The HBO doc chronicling the life and tragic death of UN diplomat Sergio Vieira de Mello received both the best in documentary honor and the grand jury prize at the Banff World Media Festival's gala awards ceremony.
June 15, 2011

Sergio, an HBO documentary chronicling the life and tragic death of UN diplomat Sergio Vieira de Mello, claimed the top prize at the final Rockies gala at the Banff World Media Festival

The film, directed by Greg Barker and based on a biography by Samantha Powers, grabbed both the grand jury prize and the honor for best documentary for its gripping portrayal of the events of August 19, 2003, when the diplomat was killed by an al Qaeda truck bomb while serving as the UN Secretary General’s special representative in Baghdad.

Sergio was produced by Silverbridge Productions and Passion Pictures in association with Screen Pass Pictures, Impact Partners, Motto Pictures, BBC ‘Storyville’ and HBO Documentary Films.

In addition, Original Productions’ CEO and executive producer Thom Beers received the inaugural Award of Excellence in Non-Fiction.

Accepting his award, he said, “It’s great to go out every day and track my wanderlust.”

He then told a story about the making of Shipwrecks and Salvage, where he and his crew lived on tents on the beach while they filmed. Unfortunately, bears came out of hibernation, causing Beers and crew to stay on the boat, which rocked back and forth violently, at the same time that he had the flu.

“I looked up to the wall and someone had written: ‘If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.’ I want to thank whoever wrote that. It’s been my mantra ever since,” he said.

(With files by Kelly Anderson)

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.