[Dateline: New York | Author: iSeek/David Mimran]
Director and award-winning producer of The Cove Fisher Stevens showed a first draft of what could turn into a feature documentary called War on War about peacekeepers, focusing in particular on Haiti before and after the earthquake.
"When I was approached to shoot this documentary, I didn’t know what peacekeepers did. I was even a bit skeptical and thought they were controversial. After meeting them I wanted to drop everything and become one of them," Stevens told the audience during a screening of his documentary in the Temporary North Lawn Building at the Secretariat on Wednesday, 24 March 2010.
Secretary-General BAN Ki-moon, who introduced the documentary, expressed his hope that Stevens would soon win another Oscar, but for an upcoming feature film Stevens hopes to direct on peacekeeping. About the documentary, he jokingly remarked: "You will find that one of the main actors looks very much like me."
Under-Secretaries-General for Peacekeeping Alain Le Roy and for Field Support Susanna Malcorra praised the documentary for showing the spirit of peacekeeping.
The director has been granted exclusive access to the SG and other UN officials to interview them about the over 120,000 peacekeepers dispatched in 16 peace operations on four continents to engage in the challenging task of nurturing a fragile peace.
Stevens says he hopes the documentary will give a taste of what peacekeeping is and what it does.
The footage had special resonance within the audience because, by sheer chance, the shooting began in Haiti and highlighted the success of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) in 2009 prior to the 12 January 2010 earthquake. Eight weeks after the earthquake, Stevens and his team went back to Haiti and were able to capture the aftermath and the toll this catastrophe took on the UN itself.
Stevens explained that the feature film he hopes to direct will differ from this documentary in that it will concentrate on three or four peacekeepers and follow their different journeys in a deeply personal way. As for the Missions on which the feature film might focus, Stevens has his eyes already set on Haiti and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but would explore a third possible peacekeeping operation.
Stevens' ambition is to show the feature film on television, because that would be the best way to spread the message of the extraordinary work of the peacekeepers, in spite of the external difficulties in terms of funding and equipment which hinder a fast response and the few "bad apples" who damage its reputation.
Those who saw the documentary will remember an emotional close-up shot of a young blind boy wearing a bright shirt, singing a Haitian blues song. Stevens mentioned that this boy was particularly close to his heart and that this shot was for him one of the most emotional moments of the production.