Demme helms docu on Carter for Participant

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President Carter will be the subject of "He Comes in Peace," a documentary being directed by Jonathan Demme.

Participant Prods., which was behind the hit documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," featuring former Vice President Al Gore, is producing.

Demme and his crew will follow Carter across the U.S., through red states and blue, to bookstores and talk shows and Wal-Marts, as he undertakes a book tour for his new tome, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid." At the same time, Carter, who has written more than 20 books, will speak about how to achieve peace in the Mideast and his lifelong philosophy of human compassion.

Production began at Carter's home in Plains, Ga., on Nov. 11 before the tour. The book hit shelves Nov. 14.

Demme is seeking what he calls an "experiential" approach, emphasizing spontaneity and veracity, and said he wants to avoid "talking heads."

"The president's book tour occurs at a crossroads where the world of religion intersects with global politics," Demme said. "This picture is just an extraordinary honor for me. I loved Carter when he was president, and I've loved him more and more since he left office. He makes me feel so proud to be an American."

ICM-repped Demme may be known for such dramatic works as "The Silence of the Lambs" and "Philadelphia," but he has taken detours into the docu world with biographical portraits such as "Neil Young: Heart of Gold" and "The Agronomist."

Participant chairman Jeff Skoll and Participant executive vp documentaries Diane Weyermann are executive producing "Peace."

"Jimmy Carter embodies a determined sense of justice and a devout faith, grounded in tolerance and driven by a fierce desire for world peace," Weyermann said. "Jonathan Demme is a filmmaker of immense vision who will be able to marry the intimate portraiture of 'Heart of Gold' to the political savvy of 'The Agronomist' and advance his series of 'portrait docs' with a subject so worthy of further examination."

Participant, which focuses on entertainment that highlights social issues, has done well in the documentary field. In addition to "Truth," the company produced "The World According to Sesame Street" and last year's "Murderball."
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