Serving on the competition jury at the Pingyao International Film Festival has opened the veteran filmmaker’s eyes to exciting trends in contemporary Chinese cinema.
When the work of Guan Hu emerged on the international festival circuit in the early 1990s, the Chinese film industry was, much like the director, still finding its feet.
"We were making more than 100 films, but hardly any of them every made it into cinemas," says the 51-year-old filmmaker. "I didn't really know if anyone would see anything I made."
Things have moved fast. China now boasts the second-largest theatrical film market in the world, with an output stretching into the many hundreds of titles per year.
Across the same time Guan's career has crossed almost every genre imaginable. As a leading member of China's “Sixth Generation” of directors, Guan delivered festival favorites like his breakthrough, The Cow 2009, a weirdly wonderful rumination on life — and allegiances — during wartime. Later, he would try his hand — to acclaim and box office success — at action The Chef, The Actor, the Scoundrel, 2013 and gritty drama Mr Six, 2015, as well as helming several popular TV series.
This past week, the now-veteran filmmaker has been casting his gaze across the latest work from China's new generation of directors in his role as a jury member for the third Pingyao International Film Festival's Roberto Rossellini Awards. He says the subject matter he's witnessing — as much as the raw talent on display — reflects how far the Chinese industry has come over a remarkably short period of time.
But some things are taking longer to evolve, as evidenced, by the fact that Guan's $80 million WWII epic The Eight Hundred was pulled from its opening slot at the Shanghai International Film Festival this past June. Expected to be one of China's biggest releases of the summer, the abruptly censored film has yet to hit cinemas. Such are the vagaries of an industry closely watched and regulated by an increasingly repressive government. Both the Pingyao festival and Guan's team insisted that no questions be asked about The Eight Hundred, stating only that it "will soon launch."
On every other matter, Guan is open to the point of being effusive as he sits down on the sidelines of the PYIFF to dig into his own past and the future of Chinese cinema. And, just in case anyone had forgotten we're at an art house festival, the director arrives dressed entirely in black, from t-shirt to Prada sneakers.
First up let's talk about your role here on the jury at Pingyao. What experience have you brought to town?
I've done a few similar roles but only at very small international festivals. I also am part of the annual assessment done by the Chinese directors association for our annual awards. It is a role that can bring a lot of pressure.
So why did you sign on?
I feel there is a unique atmosphere here in Pingyao because there are so many young filmmakers here. The foundersare my close friends also, so I want to help them. I also have self-interest as a motivation as I believe here I will get to watch the work from a lot of young filmmakers, get to know them and maybe one day work with them. In recent years, I have been helping young filmmakers and in this way I hope I can make use of the energy I have for filmmaking for more than just my own work.
Anything you call tell us about the work you have been producing with young filmmakers?
Nothing has been released, and these directors are not known. One film is a crime thriller and we have just finished post-production. The other we are about to start is a look at the life of elderly citizens. I don't want to say much more at this stage, but what excites me is that these young filmmakers are really expanding the ideas of Chinese cinema. They have no fear.
Between that work and what you have seen so far in Pingyao, are you seeing any trends emerge among the new generation of Chinese filmmakers?
There's no denying that young filmmakers like to start with either genre films, like crime films, or with stories that are very personal, like stories about children coming of age, or about small towns. I think this is pretty normal everywhere. But this year there is one film we have seen that won't win an award, and it is not really refined but it is very truthful. It's called Summer is the Coldest Season from director Zhou Sun and it is very true to her heart. In terms of skill or technique, it is very young — but it is so true to her heart. We are seeing more of that from this new generation.
What sort of role is Pingyao playing in terms of providing a platform for this talent?
At this stage of their career they need confidence, and a festival like this gives new filmmakers that. It can drive you on to further your career, once you see your film play at a festival and be watched film lovers and other filmmakers.
In what way is the filmmaking landscape in China different today compared to when you started out in the 1990s?
The change has been so big. I wasn't exactly unlucky back then but there was no established market in China, so not many people saw my films. There were no other filmmakers to help us, really, and no festivals. The survival rate among young filmmakers was very low. You felt like you were fighting alone. These days, us older filmmakers try to help young filmmakers, having experienced that. We don't want them to switch to other jobs. So more and more are now sticking to it.
How important was it that your early films travelled to international festivals?
It was more than important, it was vital. It was all we had. Small films wouldn't make it to our cinemas and if they did no one saw them. So festivals gave us an audience and the sole channel through which we could become known and hopefully keep making films in the future. I remember when my first film played at a festival in Vienna and I was there and the audience all applauded, for three or four minutes. I think they were just being nice to me, but it meant everything to my young mind. There were better filmmakers around than me, but this gave me confidence that I was getting somewhere in life. I was filled with pride and it powered me to overcome all the difficulties.
What are you witnessing in China in terms of how streaming platforms and the likes of mobile content are remaking the landscape all over again?
It's been explosive, as has the whole film market. But we are having problems with quality. At the moment, we are questioning whether we really need such a big volume of production every year. There are not enough quality films and productions, and until there are, China will not be a real powerhouse. It's a double-edged sword. My production company has explored TV series, mobile content and short-form video that is more suited to these platforms — and it's quite profitable. These have increased the interest of young filmmakers, too. But at the same time, it has brought quality down, and it has also affected how people view directors. Directing is no longer seen as a remarkable job — when it really is. It is very tough. So the challenge is to keep standards high, keep the quality high and keep people professional.
Is there anything you'd like to share about where you see your own career headed?
I'm exploring internet dramas. These have a long and profitable future in China. Filmmaking is quite volatile, but if you succeed with an internet drama you can have some security. I want to look at helping some young filmmakers who are unlike me — those with different styles to me, even more feminine ones. I want to show people an ernative side to myself. I would simply like to surprise people.
Inspiration, creation, sharing. As the late Agnès Varda put it herself, these are the three key tenets of her filmmaking process. Varda’s final film, an encapsulation of her decades-spanning career through the lens of her masterclass seminars, brilliantly distills her ethos into a documentary. Despite being made with clear knowledge of her own mortality, Varda by Agnès never feels like a somber mausoleum for her talents. It’s a living, breathing document that keeps her spirit and creativity accessible as well as present.
In her final years, Varda never rested on her laurels as a pioneering filmmaker in the French New Wave. She kept up an impressive schedule of appearances touring the world to give talks about her craft and career at film festivals, even as her eyesight faded and her health declined. Varda by Agnès wisely uses these lectures as a narrative backbone for the documentary, providing a nice anchor from which Varda can explore fanciful tangents or discursive asides. The film serves as a wonderful democratization of the masterclasses, making their wisdom and insight available for those who were unable to attend in person.
The film, too, functions as an extension of Varda’s generosity of spirit well beyond her life itself. She pulls back the curtain on a number of her iconic films like Cléo from 5 to 7, Le Bonheur and Vagabond in a way that can appeal to seasoned cinephiles and neophyte viewers alike. Varda’s masterclasses highlight the connection between film theory and practice in thrilling ways. It is one thing to have someone tell you about the difference between objective and subjective time – and another thing entirely to have a master filmmaker illustrate how she combined them in her most widely renowned work.
Varda by Agnès acts as more than just an intro level film seminar, and it’s certainly more exciting than a career retrospective documentary that might make a handsome supplemental feature on a Criterion Collection disc. And given that Janus Films, a close corporate ally of the Collection, will distribute the film stateside, it’s tempting to consider it as little more than a cherry on top of her formidable oeuvre. But Varda’s final feature, like the director herself, never stopped pushing herself nor settled for the ordinary. She refuses to settle into a familiar pattern of clips, voiceover and masterclass footage to discuss her past films. Varda found creative ways to keep them feeling fresh, such as returning to filming locations from her film Vagabond to re-interview star Sandrine Bonnaire about the film’s legacy.
The documentary is not a memorialization of Varda’s “cinecriture,” or “cine-writing” style. The film is itself the act it depicts. Even through Varda by Agnès, Varda continues to probe the boundaries of her aesthetic. It’s the ultimate testament to her curiosity, both about the form of cinema and the people she used it to document, that she still managed to find new applications for her technique even when putting it under a microscope. The film is just as much a restless, vibrant and inventive multimedia collage as her other documentary works.
“Others interest me more,” Varda tells the audience at one point, “I prefer filming them.” Especially in the back half of the film, she shows us the camera to expand horizons beyond the frame, not merely to navel-gaze. While this portion of Varda by Agnès meanders a bit more, it’s particularly instructive as to how one can live guided both by a long, accomplished career and an awareness of how fleeting our time on this earth is. She reached people beyond the Cahiers du Cinéma crowd, exposing the power of the image to children, rural denizens and various people tangentially affected by her work. How fortunate we are that Varda’s humanistic spirit motivated her into this gesture of compassionate cinema – and how compelled those of us who love cinema should feel to follow in her humanistic example.
“Bombshell” offers two familiar faces in its retelling of the downfall of Fox News founder Roger Ailes — Charlize Theron as Megyn Kelly and Nicole Kidman and Gretchen Carlson. According to director Jay Roach, however, some onscreen fiction was needed in order to portray the true story of the wave of sexual harassment allegations that led to Ailes’ 2016 resignation. Roach, Randolph, Theron, Kidman, and Robbie spoke about making the film, due out December 20 from Lionsgate, during an early screening Sunday night, one of the first public showings of the movie.
“We had an obligation to really capture it authentically,” said Roach, who also directed the 2016 election drama “Game Change,” during the Q&A. “One of the things I have done in my other contemporary history films is go deep into actually interviewing real people, not just for authenticity … but also in details you get.”
The result of those interviews and research? The fictional character of Kayla, played by Margot Robbie — a Fox News-newcomer whose ambition is exploited by Ailes, providing audiences with a look into the former chairman’s playbook. Kayla eagerly set up a meeting with Ailes John Lithgow with the hopes of being promoted to Anchor. Among the details culled from interviews with former Fox staffers was the alleged frequent command of Ailes for women journalists to “stand up and give me a twirl” so he could inspect their bodies for what he says is appropriateness for appearing on “a visual medium.” In Kayla’s case, that built into a heavy-breathing Ailes telling her to lift up her dress more and more until her underwear is exposed.
But even if Kayla didn’t exist, her experience reflects much of the background gathered for the project. Some of the people interviewed by Roach and screenwriter Charles Randolph “The Big Short” violated non-disclosure agreements by sharing details with the filmmakers, they said.
“We’re not revealing the people we talk to. We’re trying to protect them,” Roach said. “We had heard that the Murdochs were responsible for giving Megyn the names of the women who had reported over the decades … we talked to some real people. What really happened was it was the weather lady who was still working at Fox when we started the movie and was undercover, almost like a whistleblower. But [Janice Dean] slipped the names to Megyn and Megyn did help get them to come forward.”
Robbie said her experience preparing for this role was a unique one. “Usually, it starts with the character, but for this one it started with the script. It started with the content and the messaging and what in film was trying to achieve that I appreciated so much and knew I wanted to be a part of,” she said. “I never expected to go on such a journey with [Kayla]. She’s so incredibly real to me. … It was an incredible privilege to get to tell those women’s story through her.”
Following the screening, much of the early reactions centered around Theron’s stunning transformation into Kelly, portraying the anchor’s public battle with then-candidate Donald Trump and her complicated experience at Fox after Carlson sued Ailes for sexual harassment. In the film, Kelly is shown struggling with reconciling Ailes’ own harassment of her with her belief that he helped further her career.
“I’m interested in people who are complicated and flawed and make mistakes. I think there were things about her that were, in the beginning, very often pointing to me. And when I really looked at her longer and deeper, I realized I had a lot in common,” Theron said. “The thing that Jay and I spoke about the most was that it was very important to me that we set out on a road of whatever the greater truth is and stayed on that road and that we never veered and tried to make her sympathetic or to try and persuade people to like her or to think that she was a hero or a good person, that we just told the truth of what her story was.”
For Kidman, the process of preparing to play Carlson was an education. Unlike Kelly, who famously pressed Trump about his treatment of women on the campaign trail, Carlson was less familiar to many people unless they were devoted Fox News viewers. “I sort of investigated it more,” she said said. “I consider myself well-rounded and up to date, aware particularly of these issues, but my knowledge of Gretchen Carlson was pretty minimal.”
When Apple TV+ launches on Nov. 1, one of the first pieces of original content available will be nature documentary “The Elephant Queen,” about the beautiful, tusked matriarch of a family of elephants.
Directors Victoria Stone and Mark Deeble filmed in Kenya for four years straight, but it took a little while before they found Athena, their main character.
“To begin with, she wouldn’t let us close. But we could see that with her herd, with her family, she was a really calm, beautiful, temperate matriarch. And we would just spend time with her,” Deeble told the crowd after an International Documentary Association screening of the film at the London West Hollywood, part of the IDA’s annual screening series.
Over the course of several weeks, Athena had allowed the small crew closer and closer, until they were about 40 meters from her. One day, Athena walked away to let her calf stand between her and the crew. That’s a rare occurrence for a mother.
“At that stage two things can happen,” Deeble explained. “Either she can realize that it was a mistake, and if we’re in the middle of them we’re going to get trampled, or, and what I like to think happened, she was just testing us. Because after a while, she made a very low rumble and the calf looked up, and she wandered very calmly around the front of the calf. And from that day on, she allowed us amazing access.”
Throughout the course of the film, Athena and her family experience one of the worst droughts they’d seen in their lifetimes. But Stone and Deeble, of course, couldn’t know that’s what they’d document in the course of filming their movie.
“We go out into the field knowing just the arc of the story. So we’ll know that we want to tell a story about what happens to a family of elephants in extreme conditions where they’re forced to leave home, and what happens to them and what happens to the neighbors that they share home with,” Stone said. “And that’s literally all we’ll go into the field with. We’ll do the scientific research on everything we possibly can, read about all of the different animals when we go so we know what to expect, natural history-wise. But with a film like this, we knew we wanted to tell an emotional story. So we knew we had to find our lead characters and then see what, if anything, happened. But invariably, life goes on and something happens.”
Stone and Deeble filmed with a small crew in a makeshift bush camp, using solar panels to charge their equipment and spending all of their days following the animals.
“We live like a little family there because we’re very isolated,” Stone said.
When they’re not focusing on the elephants or other large animals, they’re filming small shots of fish eggs or expansive aerial shots using a plane set up with a special rig.
“The thing I love about a film like this is that you do have to rely on your own resources. And the challenges are trying to [film everything] from the fish egg, which is almost barely a millimeter long, right up to the big aerials,” Deeble said. “So for the fish egg, we actually built ourselves a macro bench in camp, and then we’d get the camera and we’d actually move the fish egg on a tiny stage with little joysticks and cold lights in order to get to focus. We wouldn’t focus a camera or the lens, we actually focused on moving the subject. We could only do that on very still days because any wind would just make everything vibrate too much.”
For the innovative ground-level shots from the points of view of turtles or other small animals, they built “great big metal box,” Stone said. “It wasn’t actually huge, but Mark would sink it underground so that we could put the camera lens out of a little letterbox entrance and get water-level, raw, ground-level shots. But that meant Mark being inside this box from dawn to dusk. And the problem is that the top of the box was metal, so we were literally we would roast him every day in this box.”
The finished film is narrated by Chiwetel Ejiofor, and focuses on all of the animals in the area, from the majestic elephants down to the dung beetles. Mostly, though, it showcases elephants in an accessible way so that kids and adults alike can understand their importance and their beauty — and want to protect them for future generations.
“Our ambition with this film,” Stone said, “was to reach the broadest possible audience who don’t already know that they love elephants or are interested in the wild, but just to appeal to people on a totally emotional level. To say … they’re just like us, and then make the world fall in love with them. But then at the same time to really make a difference where there is a crisis in the real world with these elephants. We won’t have them on our planet if we don’t do something about protecting them.”
The IDA Documentary Screening Series brings some of the year's most acclaimed documentary films to the IDA community and members of industry guilds and organizations. Films selected for the Series receive exclusive access to an audience of tastemakers and doc lovers during the important Awards campaigning season from September through November. For more information about the series, and a complete schedule, visit IDA.
I am the absolute last person to defend an attempt of a Hollywood studio, a superhero movie, or a director and actor so privileged they have the industry and all of its riches at their feet. The budgets of my four completed films range from $40,000 to $5,000,000 — and the budget of my current project hovers somewhere in between. I believe tentpoles have ruined American cinema and the glut of mediocre content in episodic television has made scrolling through titles often as interesting as watching the actual shows.
But I thought “Joker” was a near-masterpiece, an opera of raw, gritty emotion, a stunningly dark and artful gaze into the rich delusion of tragedy. It is not a perfect film, and — as some critics have said — it is dangerous, but it is entirely more dangerous to label it as some kind of call to arms for white rage in this country, or to link the film to the Aurora cineplex massacre of 2012, or to call the film “incel friendly,” which is utterly absurd.
I should know. My third film, “Dark Night,” had everything to do with the Aurora massacre. A fictional meditation on guns in America and 21st century suburban isolation, the film follows a day in the life of six characters who all end up in a movie theater where a massacre takes place. One of the characters is the eventual shooter, the others are simply people — and the idea was that it should be easy to recognize yourself in all of the characters up on the screen. By the end of the film, we all are sitting in a movie theater together, and the fragility of life hovers over every viewer's head. There is no violence in the film, which focuses on what happens before a shooting takes place — how we live — rather than aftermath. Whether you're a young girl looking to make friends, an Iraqi war vet, a selfie obsessive, or a damaged person with unfortunate access to guns, the film is designed to humanize people too often turned into statistics.
There is a reference to James Holmes' trial in the film, as well as others to “The Dark Knight Rises” and Batman. Three mass shootings occurred during the making of the film, and we felt the intensity and pain of creating a living document of the time. “Dark Night” was well-received at both Sundance and Venice; it even won some awards. But the film found no champion in the industry to help it become part of international conversations surrounding violence and gun control. It was a film about people getting killed in a movie theater, and no distributor or theater chain wanted that kind of responsibility. After a tiny distribution deal, and a scathing beatdown from the New York Times, it drifted off to the edge of Netflix where it lies sleeping today. Nobody talked about it.
Since its premiere at Sundance, 67 mass shootings have taken place in America, and one could happen by the time you finish reading this sentence.
As a filmmaker, you make films to be seen by an audience and, hopefully, to be considered and/or discussed long after the screen goes black. It was a devastating experience to watch “Dark Night” become marginalized and ignored. I had purposely worked with all non-actors on the project, so there was a sense of anonymity on the screen rather than that of a recognizable face from some other movie or TV show. The screen served as a mirror to the viewer. In my frustration, I used to joke that if I had cast Joaquin Phoenix as the shooter and fully shown, rather than hid, bombastic violence, the film would have received a giant distribution deal and people would be talking about it.
Alas, here we are.
And while it’s good that we are talking about “Joker,” we're talking about it for the wrong reasons. With all respect and empathy to anyone affected by the Aurora tragedy or gun violence in general, this film seems to have literally nothing to do with the Aurora massacre. James Holmes never said, “I am the Joker” before following through with his horrifying deed. If anything, the killing in the movie is more reminiscent of Bernard Goetz's vigilantism, which I have yet to see mentioned in critical analysis or public outcry.
Gun violence is an epidemic in American society — and I believe that guns should be banned for personal use. Blame policy, but don't blame this movie. Look around at the countless movies this country makes and tell me that “Joker” is the only one with a gun in it. Far from it. Additionally, I can't find merit in statements that equate the film as a call to arms for Incels to wreak havoc. That sect typically targets violence against women, and Joker does not target women nor does he show misogynist tendencies whatsoever. His “love interest” in the narrative is one purely of fantasy, and while there is a moment of threat, she experiences no act of violence.
I know very little about the Incel community, but one could even argue that it might become more angry and desperate after watching a film that has a perfect, wonderful romance in it, as the inability to connect intimately with the opposite sex is where their deepest frustration lies. Lastly, nobody has criticized Jared Leto's portrayal of the Joker character or connected the cash cow “Suicide Squad” to real violence over the past few years — not to mention all of the iterations that the character has undergone since Bob Kane and his team created the character in 1948. So why now?
Because, for all of the film's somewhat hokey superhero movie necessities too much explanation, a few obvious and clunky plot points, and the requisite garish set pieces, through the writing and Phoenix's sympathetic portrayal, the film deals with real hurt, with real emotion, with real mental illness. That's not something mainstream American audiences are necessarily drawn to these days. Dark isn't good marketing. What we're given in the superhero genre is Robert Downey Jr.'s tiresome glib eye roll, and a narrative that illustrates a dependence on a thousand miles of green screen and an audience's yearning to escape into mindless entertainment. Joker is not like that – and much is at stake because of the filmmakers' and studio's decision to create the film the way they did. It's an important risk by Warner Bros. to follow Phillips' Joker as a godson of “Taxi Driver” and “King of Comedy.” This vision took extreme bravery. It should be rewarded, supported, not destroyed.
Yet the most disturbing criticism I've read and heard about the film so far involves Joker's sympathetic backstory. He's too human. But if we recognize his trials in personal terms, it allows us to explore how society takes a toll on many people not wealthy enough to advocate for themselves.
What is wrong with empathy? Why is it wrong to humanize a villain? People may not want to see it in the movies — but they should, because it could help inform how we exist in the real world. Perhaps it takes a blockbuster to convince people this perspective is worth their time. Along with its entertainment value, why shouldn't this film be about mental illness, or about the lack of social services for people forgotten by society, or about the fact that the one percent have been a major part of the destruction of the fabric of American life?
These are real problems, but when the movies address them we cry foul — or we cry dangerous. But “Joker” isn't dangerous because it could influence incels or copycats; it's dangerous because it tries to show something human. That's what I wanted to explore in “Dark Night,” and I'm glad to see that “Joker” follows suit.
Tim Sutton is the director of four feature films — “Pavilion,” “Memphis,” “Dark”, and “Donnybrook.” He lives in New York, where he is currently in production on his next project.
Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about the political timeliness of the Statue of Liberty documentary.
Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, the duo behind shows like RuPauls Drag Race and Million Dollar Listing, have produced documentaries on Carrie Fisher, a group of commercial beekeepers, and infamous '90s club promoter Michael Alig. But for the last few years, they've turned their focus to New York's Statue of Liberty.
At the premiere of Liberty: Mother of Exiles on Monday night, the two explained that they actually started working on the documentary before Donald Trump because president.
"Little did we know that everything that would happen in the next three years only make what Lady Liberty stands for even more important than ever," Bailey told The Hollywood Reporter. "I think it made the film ultra relevant."
Since 2016, the statue has not only become an epicenter for immigration protests, but also a talking point for Trump administration officials. For example, Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, suggested the poem inscribed on the statue's pedestal — The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus — be rewritten as "Give me your tired and your poor — who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge."
White House advisor Stephen Miller also took a dig at the poem, dismissing its importance because, in his opinion, it's "not actually part of the original Statue of Liberty."
Barbato called Miller's comments "inaccurate," which Bailey said was "very generous."
"I think it's a deliberate lie. Because the poem was actually written to raise money to build the pedestal, without which you couldn't put the statue up," Bailey added. "So, the poem is integral to the statue."
He noted the particular line, "From her beacon-hand / Glows world-wide welcome," as being "the exact opposite of building a wall to keep people out."
In spite of all of this, Liberty isn't a politically charged film. As Bailey put it, the documentary is "a journey of discovery," exploring the statue's history and cultural significance. Before embarking on the journey, the film opens with the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Statue of Liberty Museum, which took place earlier this year.
Diane von Furstenberg, who serves as an executive producer for the documentary, played a large role in the museum's relocation from the statue's pedestal. At the premiere, she attributed her involvement to years of being asked to join the board of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation by its president and CEO Stephen Briganti.
"I got more and more interested," she said, explaining that she made up her mind after writing her 2014 memoir, The Woman I Wanted to Be. "In the book, I put a little note about my mother. My mother was a Holocaust survivor. She was actually in Auschwitz for 13 months before I was born. And she wrote me a little note that said, 'God saved me so that I can give you life. By giving you life, you gave me my life back. You are my torch of freedom.' "
Von Furstenberg said Briganti then sent her this excerpt, underlining "torch of freedom." So she joined the board — with the condition that she be named the "godmother" of Lady Liberty — and ultimately led the museum's fundraising campaign. The designer not only raised $100 million, but also commissioned an augmented reality app from Apple's Tim Cook, which allows users to transport to the top of the statue, see how New York's skyline has transformed over the years and more.
Both Jason Blum and Sheila Nevins, who are also executive producers for Liberty, told THR that they joined the film at the request of von Furstenberg.
"It was in her heart and in her soul," Nevins said. "She was very invested in this."
While introducing the film, von Furstenberg said "The Statue of Liberty is like the sun. She warms everybody and doesn't ask for anything in exchange."
Liberty: Mother of Exiles premieres on HBO October 17.