Exclusive: The Meeting That Led Harvey Weinstein to Purchase The Oath of Tobruk
French artist Ron Agam’s friendships with Bernard-Henri Levy and Harvey Weinstein led to one of the most high profile film deals heading into this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Weinstein, who has just purchased the rights to The Oath of Tobruk, Bernard-Henri Levy’s documentary that tells the tale of Muammar Gaddafi’s fall from power, and eventual death, in Libya, was told about the project when Agam set up a meeting between the two titans of their respective fields.
“Harvey Weinstein is the most serious movie distributor in the world and I felt that Levy, being one of the world’s most important philosophers and political activists, to bring the two of them together would be an incredible moment,” Agam told The Algemeiner.
Levy traveled to Libya after the civil unrest began there in early 2011 and met with Libyan rebels, before returning to meet with then French President Nicolas Sarkozy to brief him on what was happening on the ground.
“He made a documentary about it and when he told me about it, I immediately said ‘Harvey must see this,'” Agam said. “I arranged for the two of them to meet and Harvey liked the documentary and he decided to purchase the distribution rights for the United States.”
Weinstein, who is the chairman of the film distribution giant The Weinstein Company, released a statement, noting that the film “highlights the invaluable leadership from President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. 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.”
The U.S. and NATO’s roles in arming and protecting the Libyan opposition is largely credited with Levy’s ability to convince Sarkozy that if the international community did not intervene in the conflict, Gaddafi would massacre his own people.
Agam, who has seen the documentary, which will premiere at this year’s Cannes Film festival later in May, says “the historical documentary will leave people speechless.”
“I was very happy because these are two immense talents and two immense individuals.”