Not your mother’s documentary

Deb WilliamsDeb Williams reports on a favourite pick from Toronto’s Hot Doc’s Film Festival, where a new style of documentary is gaining a wider audience:
The biographical documentary Sergio brims with action, drama, and emotion – and will appeal to a wide audience. This brilliant film follows the life of the charismatic Brazilian, Sergio Vieira de Mello, who joined the United Nations when he was just 21.
Inspired by Samantha Power’s book, Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello and The Fight to Save the World, director Greg Barker shows how de Mello’s great leadership abilities allowed him to tactfully provide solutions in tense political situations.
Sergio Vieira de MelloHe went to some of the world’s most volatile countries — Bangladesh, Cambodia, and East Timor – and earned him a reputation as the U.N.’s go-to guy.  Sergio embarked on his last tour to Iraq after being heavily influenced by senior dignitaries such as Condoleezza Rice and Tony Blair.
The world remembers images of the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad devastated by a terrorist bomb in 2003. This was where Sergio spent the last few hours of his life, entombed in rubble. With finesse and realistic clarity, Barker keeps audiences riveted.
The documentary is a tribute not only to a great man, but to an international hero.
Parallel to the unfolding international drama, Barker closely follows Sergio’s personal life and his love for female companionship. Interviews with family, friends and co-workers reveal layers of a man whose ethics were built on the preservation and independence of every oppressed individual.
Sergio eloquently portrays the humility of a man who was instrumental in changing the world and understanding the complexities of human nature when faced with adversity. It is a true privilege to witness such a heartfelt story of a man who shows how one person can make a difference.
Deb will bring us more highlights from HotDocs.