Storyville, 2013-2014, Smash & Grab - The Story of the Pink Panthers Live

22 Oct 2013 Last updated at 22:58

Live Q&A with 'Smash and Grab - The Story of the Pink Panthers' director Havana Marking

Smash and Grab - The Story of the Pink Panthers director Havana Marking will be available to respond to your questions immediately after broadcast on Tuesday 22nd October, from 11.30pm for 30 minutes. Get in touch!

Join in and ask your question

  • 22 Oct 2013 23:22:49

    Charlotte asks:

    What made you interested in the story of the 'Pink Panthers'?
    Havana responds:
    When I read about them I realised that as well as the excitement and the extraordinary nature of the diamond heist, it was also a prism through which to see contemporary crime, the Balkan conflicts and the shady parts of the diamond industry. This gave it everything it needed for a very rich film and I was gripped. I hope I've done justice to the topic and thanks for watching - and for all the questions!
  • 22 Oct 2013 23:50:51

    David wants to know:

    David Williams
    #smashgrabBBC how difficult was it to show the back stories of the gang without appearing to glamorise their crimes?
    Havana answers:
    I don't the back stories glamorised them, but it does explain the context. But whatever, the context, it doesn't justify what they do. Even if you do think there are no victims, the diamonds become currency for the underworld.
  • 22 Oct 2013 23:47:30

    Matt asks:

    Wow. What a superb doc. Is there evidence that there is a generational lull in the PPs on-goings? Are they just going to follow the diamonds or change tact?
    Havana responds:
    Thank you! There is definitely a cooling off period as so many of them have been sent to prison - the total is now 189 arrests. We will just have to see about their future - I don't know.
    Faizan wants to know:
    Faizan Fiaz
    How did you find the balance between documenting a glamorous subject matter and the message that crime doesn't pay? #smashgrabBBC
    Havana says:
    The reason why it's glamorous is because it's the stuff of Hollywood and so I started the film with that in mind as if it was a heist film, but then gradually as the film goes on, I wanted to reveal more truths and so by the end you realise this is neither glamorous nor Robbin Hoodesque.
  • 22 Oct 2013 23:41:15

    Alice asks

    AMK @AliceMerray tweeted:
    @bbcstoryville @SmashandGrabDoc Did the (excellent!) animations resemble the real people at all? I couldn't believe they were pure fiction.
    Havana responds:
    I chose the actors because they did resemble the characters, as well as being good performers, but I felt it was more in style and spirit than physically.
  • 22 Oct 2013 23:37:21

    Tim asks:

    Hi Hannah, great film! Bit of an obvious question but how did you get to meet the thieves and what was there motivation for taking part?
    Havana answers:
    I had a very good fixer in Montenegro who introduced me to some of the thieves. They all had different reasons for agreeing to take part. Mike began as ego, while Lela was more a cathartic reason - she wanted to talk about it, she could talk to noone else.
  • 22 Oct 2013 23:35:27

    Gary asks

    Any idea how they might be expanding criminally today?
    Havana says:
    I would say no most of them are retiring and since the film was made more have been arrested. Maybe they have found a new line of criminal activity - or a new occupation.
  • 22 Oct 2013 23:27:49

    Nathaniel wants to know:

    Were your subjects willing to speak or did it require lengthy negotiation? Have they seen and are they comfortable with their portrayal in the film?
    Havana says:
    It took about a year to get everybody on board - going back and forth, but both sides need to trust each other and that takes time. Different people had different reasons for being in the film. For example, Mr Green, the fence, contacted us to participate in the film because he was fed up with the Panthers getting all the glory. Mike, the main Panther featured, has seen the film and I've heard that he likes it.

  • 22 Oct 2013 23:22:49

    Charlotte asks:

    Did you make a decision not to include the victims of any of the panther's crimes in the films?
    Havana answers:
    No I didn't make that decision - they made that decision for me. Noone from the diamond industry - working in the shop or from the wider diamond trade would talk to me. It was strange, but it was easier to get the thieves than their victims.

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