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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Montblanc Unveils ‘Power of Words’ Film Honoring Nelson Mandela

Caroline Rupert introduces the “Power of Words” film.

Montblanc recently hosted the U.S. premiere of a film project honoring Nelson Mandela at NeueHouse in New York. 

The “Power of Words” film celebrates Mandela’s life and the positive ways in which he transformed societies and lives worldwide, Montblanc said in a statement. The screening on December 5 fell on the heels of the film project’s international premiere, held in Cape Town, South Africa, with Mandela’s family in attendance.  

Nelson Mandela had a special bond with his Montblanc fountain pen calling it his “presidential pen.” The anti-apartheid revolutionary, South African president and Nobel Peace Prize winner also understood the importance and value of words.

With this in mind, the Power of Words project inspires filmmakers to explore the written legacy of influential figures using film. The series takes a look at the teachings and writings of Nelson Mandela as inspiration. The series was made possible by Montblanc and created in partnership with the Tribeca Film Institute and the Nelson Mandela Foundation

Five filmmaker teams interpreted a selection of Mandela’s quotes, shooting and editing five short narrative films based on his words. Special guest contributor, photojournalist Steve McCurry, translated Mandela’s words into images, creating a photography exhibition inspired by the project that will open in the Summer of 2015 at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Houghton, South Africa.

Directors commissioned to bring the words of Mandela to life over the past six months are Mira Nair, Ramin Bahrani, Eva Weberand, James Marsh, Hank Willis Thomas, Zippy Kimundu and Nabil Elderkin. Five of TFI’s Tribeca Film Fellows—US-based high school and college students who completed a year-long fellowship through the Institute—were selected to work in partnership with the established filmmakers to produce the short films. 

“As a Maison rooted in the culture of writing, we are delighted to see the extraordinary words of one of modern history’s most inspiring figures interpreted in film”, said Jérôme Lambert, Montblanc International CEO. “We share Nelson Mandela’s belief in the importance of meaningful words and education. His unique vision for democracy, peace, social equality and learning lives on through the power of his words, and we hope that through each of these films, others will continue to be inspired by his legacy.”

The screening and celebration, co-hosted by Caroline Rupert, was attended by Tribeca Film Institute co-founder Jane Rosenthal, Africa Rising Foundation Co-Founder Kweku Mandela Chrissy Teigen, participating director Nabil Elderkin, members of the Tribeca Film Institute and an intimate selection of international guests.

Those in attendance included (from left) Tyler Stachan, Nia Ashley, Caroline Rupert, Kweku-Mandela, Nabil Elderkin, Jane-Rosenthal, Mia Nair and Frisly Soberanis.

The Power of Words project was first launched by Montblanc in April 2013 to bring together a new generation of filmmakers through the iconic words of the anti-apartheid revolutionary, South African president and Nobel Peace Prize winner, using Mandela’s legendary and most powerful quotes in feature short films that give new meaning to his legacy and vision. A short film, directed by Nabil Elderkin, was projected in New York’s Times Square every night shortly before midnight for a month. The film celebrates his peaceful vision in the form of an art installation. 

Montblanc, along with TFI and the Nelson Mandela Foundation, announced the continuation of the Power of Words for a short film project at the 90-years celebration of the iconic Meisterstück writing instrument in April 2014 in New York City.

The bond Mandela had with his pen is described in “Good Morning, Mr. Mandela,” a memoir by Mandela’s aide and private secretary, Zelda la Grange. 

“On one occasion he went to Sandton City, a big shopping mall on the outskirts of Johannesburg. He was determined to buy a pen and the security detail took him to the Montblanc store. Until he got ill, Madiba wore the pen in his pocket, referring to it as a Presidential Pen,” la Grange wrote.

“Madiba had very few personal things that he was religiously holy about. His two pens, his wristwatch, his empty wallet, his ivory walking stick and the holder for his reading glasses, as well as his hearing aids. The most important, of course, was his wedding ring…. These items had to be neatly placed beside his bed every night and they were the first items he looked for when he woke up.”

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