Wednesday, March 07, 2007

DiCaprio and Filmmaker Sorious Samura Revisit Horrors of Conflict Diamonds

Leonardo DiCaprio interview, Blood on the Stone and The Diamond Trail

In a 90-minute television special, award-winning documentary filmmaker Sorious Samura returns to Sierra Leone to explore the conflict diamond trade by mining, buying, smuggling and selling his way to New York in ‘Blood on the Stone’, a stark depiction of a dirty business where “diamonds and death” sometimes go hand in hand. From 8pm on Saturday 3 March and again on Sunday 4 March also at 8pm (GMT)

DICAPRIO INTERVIEW The special also features a conversation with Oscar-nominated actor Leonard DiCaprio, star of the feature film Blood Diamond. His full interview will air ahead of ‘Blood on the Stone,’. “In the film I say ‘bling bling, bling bang’ as a cut-throat way of describing my characters views on how Americans really live and the effects that happen half-way around the world because of this symbol of love…the diamond,” DiCaprio said. Samura actually served as a consultant on Blood Diamond for DiCaprio, his Oscar-nominated co-star Djimon Hounsou, director Edward Zwick and the rest of the cast and crew. His films ‘Cry Freetown’ and ‘Return to Freetown’ served as resources and his experiences helped create an accurate depiction of the civil war in Sierra Leone in the 90s. “[Samura] was a tremendous advisor for all of us,” DiCaprio said.

BLOOD ON THE STONE: SAMURA DOCUMENTARY In ‘Blood on the Stone’ Samura starts off in Sierra Leone, where the atrocities he encountered while filming ‘Cry Freetown’ are still fresh in his mind and the minds of people he comes across. One of the people Samura speaks to is a former child soldier who is taken back to the diamond mine where he used to work during the civil war. The grief overwhelms the boy who, now in his early 20s, was only 14 when he did “horrible things” that made him want to “kill himself.” Samura takes a close-up look at the Kimberley Process, the diamond industry’s self-regulating system developed to prevent the trade of conflict diamonds, but he also see how easily it can be circumvented. ‘Blood on the Stone’ shows that the illegal diamond trade is alive and well. It is estimated that more than 25% of the diamonds in Sierra Leone and 50% of the stones in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are smuggled out to other countries. A miner in an illegal diamond mine in the Kono District of Sierra Leone tells Samura that he prefers to sell diamonds to smugglers because they pay more than licensed dealers. Another miner at an illegal mine in DRC says that a “starving stomach has no ears.” Samura soon realizes that the diamond business is all about making money and the cost Africans often face is death.

THE DIAMOND TRAIL Following Samura’s compelling documentary is ‘The Diamond Trail’, a half-hour special hosted by Jonathan Mann featuring Hounsou, Zwick and Samura in a discussion about the horrific circumstances in Sierra Leone during its diamond-fueled civil war in the 1990s and how Blood Diamond strives to put a human face on the issue of conflict diamonds. “The slaughter of the innocents caught in between…was most important for us to portray,” Zwick said. “The idea was to show what the cost was to this whole country.”

Air times: GMT

Saturday 10/03/07




Sunday 11/03/07