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CANNES: With 'The Oath of Tobruk' Pick-Up Is Harvey Weinstein Creating His Own Ad Campaign for Obama's Re-Election?

Photo of Jay A. Fernandez By Jay A. Fernandez | Indiewire May 18, 2012 at 4:30AM

Always one to wrestle his films into the popular conversation, Weinstein Co. co-chairman Harvey Weinstein has been indulging his activist streak at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. On the heels of acquiring U.S. rights to the Osama bin Laden takedown project “Code Name: Geronimo,” which may see a release in the lead-up to the presidential election, Weinstein has picked up U.S. rights to Bernard-Henri Lévy’s documentary about the Libyan uprising, “The Oath of Tobruk.”
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Always one to wrestle his films into the popular conversation, Weinstein Co. co-chairman Harvey Weinstein has been indulging his activist streak at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. On the heels of acquiring U.S. rights to the Osama bin Laden takedown project “Code Name: Geronimo,” which may see a release in the lead-up to the presidential election, Weinstein has picked up U.S. rights to Bernard-Henri Lévy’s documentary about the Libyan uprising, “The Oath of Tobruk.”

Levy’s film documents the revolution in Libya as well as the international military and popular support that eventually led to the downfall of Muammar Gaddafi. Weinstein explicitly hopes to turn the film into a rallying cry for other Middle Eastern countries revolting against authoritarian leadership, namely Syria.

At the same time, it’s as if he is building his own version of an ad campaign for Obama’s re-election bid that will unspool at multiplexes through the fall and attempt to energize the Democratic base with a showcase of some of the President’s major foreign policy achievements. (More on the Weinsteins and Cannes at TOH!)

“This wonderful movie shows BHL’s incredible courage and the strength of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, and also highlights the invaluable leadership from President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,” said Weinstein. “American audiences will get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how our government and the French government worked together to stop the slaughter of innocent civilians and brilliantly handled the overthrow of a government.”

Levy and several key figures in the Libyan revolution will attend a special screening of the official selection Friday, May 25, at Cannes, and dedicate their victory to those still struggling in Syria.

“The Artist” financier Studio 37 produced the documentary along with Margo Cinema and Arté. Rezo continues to sell rights to the film overseas.

This article is related to: Cannes Film Festival, The Weinstein Co., Harvey Weinsten, Le serment de Tobrouk (The Oath of Tobruk)