Ed Zwick today very graciously agreed to talk to JCK about the issues his movie has raised and the industry campaign surrounding it. The full interview will appear in JCK June. Here are some highlights:
On the Rapaport conference he attended: There were a lot of proposals discussed and talk is important but talk is cheap and it will be interesting to see from afar what is created or acted upon … I have always believed no institution is a monolith. It’s made up of individuals … Clearly, there are a lot of people who believe they want and deserve credit for what [the industry has] done. I find that difficult to sympathize with. Anything the industry has done has been little compared to how much it has benefited. Indeed there needs to be more done and it needs to be not just towards Botswana and South Africa.
On the industry “diamondfacts” campaign: It is clear that the purpose of an industry media campaign is to enhance its image … I think that’s all fine except that is in direct opposition in to the statements many of the industry leaders have made privately … When you talk to some of the heads of De Beers, they talk about how they need to be more vigilant about the Kimberley Process. That is what they will say to each other but is not reflected in their media.
Did anything the industry did go too far: I think to encourage those letters from Nelson Mandela was a little bit silly.
On the Russell Simmons press conference: I just felt that the timing of that particular press conference [ed. note: four days before the film opened] could not have been anything but managed to blunt some perceived impact from the opening of the film. I applaud anybody who wants to do anything good. Russell Simmons is well-intentioned but when he next goes on a so-called fact finding trip to learn about the state of the diamond industry there are others who could prepare an itinerary that would be even more edifying.
Thanks to Mr. Zwick’s very nice assistant Troy for arranging this interview, and to Mr. Zwick for doing this interview he clearly was not too enthused about. He also stressed that his fullest thoughts on the topic are in his speech at the Rapaport conference, which can be read here.
The “Blood Diamond” DVD will be released March 21. The two disc special edition will include audio commentary by Zwick, as well as “Blood on the Stone,” a new documentary by filmmaker Sorious Samura, which also aired internationally on CNN.