The 65-year-old businessman has spent 13 months in custody or living in his Japanese home under 24-hour surveillance and under strict bail conditions. But, in December 2019, he pulled off a complex and dramatic escape that could have come straight out of the pages of a TV or movie script.
And yet it was all true.
Arab News got an exclusive glimpse into the magic behind the highly anticipated documentary, which was the first international production company for Saudi Arabia’s MBC Studios in partnership with French company ALEF ONE and British BBC Storyville.
âIt’s really kind of a world story,â Green said. âAnd so obviously you kind of have to travel the world to say it. The critical parts of the story obviously take place in Japan. The critical parts of the story take place in Beirut. The critical parts of (the) story take place in Paris. No one knows the story before, Carlos never talked about it.
Every step of Ghosn’s arrest and escape has been widely covered by news agencies around the world, but “The Last Flight” promises to shed light on the human side of Ghosn that has not been covered. .
âWith the press and the international media (they) covered the story from day to day, but from an outside point of view. Here we have a unique and, for the first time, an inner perspective, that is, an inner perspective of Carlos Ghosn and Carole Ghosn, his wife, âNora Melhli, executive producer of the documentary, told Arab News. .
“This is the first time they have told how their story began and how they experienced it from the inside out,” she said, adding that the documentary allows viewers to ultimately become insiders.
Global shoot during a global pandemic
There were several filming locations due to Ghosn’s global connections including Lebanon, Japan, France, UK and South Africa, a difficult scenario as flights were grounded and travel was stalled amid the coronavirus pandemic.
âI couldn’t make it to Cape Town because at the time there was the South African variant, so I ended up having to take these photos with everything on a Zoom call,â Green said.
Images were sent to him via the Director of Photography (DOP) monitor, and another director on site was told through headphones what to do and tell the DOP.
âWe ended up finding our way to work with extraordinarily talented people who, you know, (are) just really cool to work in this new way, a COVID way,â he added.
Among those interviewed for the documentary were officials from the Japanese Justice Ministry, a Japanese prosecutor, Ghosn’s Japanese lawyer, the former French finance minister and Ghosn’s former boss.
âIt’s a story told with the vision of some people all together. I mean on the same table but of course they never met,â Melhli said. âYou have (a) different paradigm, different perspectives, so it allows the audience to understand because, of course, it’s a very complicated story and, of course, it allows the audience to make their own point of view. “
Since there was no footage of Ghosn’s actual escape, the narrative was told through what Green described as a slight visualization palette with images, with all of the Japanese posters and signage shot in Cape Town.
MBC Studios goes global
MBC Studios secured the rights to the Ghosn story in 2020 and announced its plans in October of the same year.
The then CEO, Marc Antoine D’Halluin, told Variety magazine that the project would mark the start of a “long line-up” of other MBC shows of this type.
âI think this will change the perception of MBC Group and MBC Studios,â he said.
Less than a year later, the documentary is in official selection at the Sheffield International Documentary Festival, which is the third largest documentary festival in the world.
“It was my first collaboration with MBC and they gave me and Nick (Green) the director a kind of total green card, they gave us what we needed to do it the best way. “said Melhli. “We have a very strong vision from all of us together, MBC and the creative team, and they just gave us everything we needed to follow and trust our vision.”
âThe Last Flightâ lasts 103 minutes and will also be presented as a three-part series. It will also be shown on ShahidVIP and the BBC.