Cinema Verite, founded by Paris-based documentary film-maker Joel Soler, held its first rendezvous in Monaco and Paris last October, taking its theme on the consequences of the use of landmines and cluster bombs. The event is designed as a public forum for social commitment which assembles directors, artists, politicians and opinion-makers to raise awareness on specific issues. Soler also launched an exhibition and screening place in the centre of Paris and a fund designed to support and promote humanitarian issues through the medium of film.
Last year Nobel prize laureate Jody Williams was honoured and Cinema Verite facilitated a meeting between Williams and French minister for foreign affairs Bernard Kouchner and secretary of state in charge of human rights Rama Yade. Following the meetings, the two ministers gave their support for the signature of the treaty against the use of cluster bombs.
Other guests of honour included prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, Lois Jenson, whose life was filmed as North Country, and Sharon Stone who hosted a fundraising auction which helped finance the NGO documentary Cambodia Landmine Museum. In addition 55 films were screened.
This year, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Roberta Menchu Tum will be honorary president at Cinema Verite with the support of Yamina Benguigui, a French film-maker and deputy mayor in charge of human rights. Cinema Verite is planning to pay tribute to the Dalai Lama, former UN secretary general Kofi Annan and Susan Sarandon, the actress who is also a UNICEF ambassador.
The event will also cast a spotlight on reconciliation in Kenya in the presence of Wangari Maathai who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004.
Among other guests at the 2008 event will be Erin Gruwell, the inspiration for Paramount's 2007 film Freedom Writers, actress Carole Bouquet, who will act as mistress of ceremonies, and actress Isabelle Adjani.
Films so far confirmed for screenings include Kum Kum Bhavnani's documentary The Shape Of Water narrated by Sarandon, Richard Desjardins and Robert Monderie's The Invisible People and Freedom Writers which was directed by Richard LaGravanese and stars Hilary Swank.