HBO plans a fall premiere for Liberty: Mother of Exiles, a documentary produced and directed by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato that explores the Statue of Liberty through the perspective of fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg.
The film tracks von Furstenberg’s exploration of the history and meaning of sculptor Auguste Bartholdi’s creation to people around the world. The designer, as an immigrant herself, also reflects on the personal resonance of the monument.
“Making this documentary on the history of the Statue of Liberty, and discovering the layers of passion that made it happen, has been an emotional journey,” she said in a press release. “She truly is the symbol of freedom and her torch is a magic wand!”
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The film begins with the groundbreaking ceremony for the new museum at the base of the Statue of Liberty and then charts its history. It spotlights the descendants of Édouard de Laboulaye and Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, who also played key roles in the creation of the statue, along with almost 70 subjects whose lives have been touched by it. This ensemble ranges from street artists and factory workers to the families who lived on Liberty Island until their homes were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.
Bailey and Barbato, through their World of Wonder Productions, have made several films for HBO and Cinemax. Among them are Carrie Fisher: Wishful Drinking, Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Monica in Black and White and Party Monster.
“Lady Liberty, chains broken and striding forward, has become the symbol of the struggle for freedom all around the world” the filmmakers said. “As the Mother of Exiles, she welcomes millions of immigrants seeking a better life in America. This film could not be a more timely reminder of the values that the statue has always stood for.”
Along with Von Furstenberg, the film is executive produced by Sheila Nevins and Jason Blum. For HBO, Nancy Abraham and Lisa Heller serve as executive producers.
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