North American rights for Oliver Stone’s Latin American documentary “South of the Border” have been acquired by Cinema Libre Studio, it was announced today. The documentary, which had its world premiere in September 2009 at the Venice Film Festival, will be released in 10 major US cities starting in New York on June 25th.
“Border” chronicles Stone’s travels to South America in the winter of 2009, spotlighting the rise to power of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and other South American leaders responsible for sweeping changes in the region. The film features conversations with Chávez, Evo Morales (Bolivia), Lula da Silva (Brazil), Cristina Kirchner (Argentina), as well as her husband and ex-President Néstor Kirchner, Fernando Lugo (Paraguay), Rafael Correa (Ecuador), and Raúl Castro (Cuba).
“Not only is it a genuine honor to work with one of the greatest American directors but his insightful documentary shows how these leaders of Latin America are being intentionally villainized by the US mass media,” said Philippe Diaz, founder of Cinema Libre Studio, in a statement. “This unique dialogue needed the eye and the courage of a director like Stone to convince us that these leaders are fighting for a more humane society which means defending themselves against American corporate interests.”
Directed by Stone, the film was produced by Fernando Sulichin, Rob Wilson and José Ibáñez. Tariq Ali, historian and author of “Pirates of the Caribbean: Axis of Hope,” serves as screenwriter with Mark Weisbrot.
“[Producer] Fernando Sulichin and I went down [to Venezuela] in 2002 and met Chavez, and came down again to interview him in ’03. I felt the media was very harsh toward him, so I decided to interview him further,” said Oliver Stone at the film’s New York Film Festival premiere last fall. “So, I started with [President Chavez] and then it expanded further.”
“We are the enemies of misery, corruption and imperialism,” defended Chavez at the same event. “We are not the enemies of the U.S. We want all people to live with dignity around the world, that is our hope.”
Talking directly about the movie, Chavez added, “I think these kinds of movies are subversive, but in a positive way. [Centers of power] have been attacking us, and we’re not an actual threat to the United States and Europe. These people don’t want the American people to know what we’re doing at home. They fear that this might waken the American people. We’re a democratically elected government, and we’re making great changes [at home] through our democracy.”