“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
Andrew Tracy joined Realscreen as associate editor in 2021, following 17 years as managing editor of the award-winning international film magazine Cinema Scope. From 2010 to 2020 he also held the position of senior editor at the Toronto International Film Festival, where he oversaw the flagship publication for the organization’s year-round Cinematheque programming and edited its first original monograph in a decade, Steve Gravestock’s A History of Icelandic Film. He was a scriptwriter and consultant on the first season of the Vice TV series The Vice Guide to Film, and his writing and reporting have been featured in such outlets as Cinema Scope, Reverse Shot, Sight & Sound, Cineaste, Film Comment, MUBI Notebook, POV, and Montage.