“Sergio”, by Greg Barker
Screened on 2 September 2010
Based on Pulitzer Prize-winning author Samantha Power’s biography Chasing the Flame, “Sergio” revolves around the story of Sergio Vieira de Mello – the world’s “go-to guy”, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Iraq. The film is both a celebration of Vieira de Mello’s life and a gripping account of his final moments, trapped beneath the rubble of the Baghdad hotel that served as the United Nations’ headquarters in Iraq while two woefully under-equipped emergency workers tried desperately to free him. The movie is also meant as a tribute to international civil servants like Vieira de Mello and the UN system they uphold.
Filmmaker Greg Barker explores Vieira de Mello’s career – from his days as a student radical in Paris to his outreach to pariah groups like the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Khmer Rouge which exemplified the kinds of moral choices that “the world’s all about.”
The film was followed by a Q&A session with Jonathan Prentice, former Human Rights Adviser to the United Nations and Sergio Vieira de Mello’s political adviser in East Timor from 1999 until 2003.