Magazine article Screen International

Peace Keeper

Magazine article Screen International

Peace Keeper

Article excerpt

Mandy Jacobson talks about her South African documentary Plot for Peace.

South African documentary Plot For Peace tells the story of the end of apartheid from the point of view of a mysterious French businessman called Jean Yves Ollivier, whose dealings influenced Nelson Mandela's release from prison and helped to broker peace between South Africa and its neighbouring states.

The film's director Mandy Jacobson came across a two minute clip of Ollivier, who was in Cannes to promote the project, whilst trawling through hundreds of hours of archive footage collated by the African Oral History Archive, which also funded the film.

"He had been involved in a prisoner exchange with Angola but he never spoken about his story. The more we started talking to him, the more we discovered his involvement in the behind the scenes diplomacy. We spent months trying to convince him that the story should be told," says Jacobson, who won two Emmys for her 1996 documentary Calling The Ghosts.

Written by former Africa editor of Le Monde, Stephen W Smith, the film is more "narrative thriller" than traditional documentary. "We found there was so much action in Jean Yves story, the secret meetings, the risking his life. …

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