Liberty: Mother of Exiles is premiering next week on October 17th at 9pm on HBO. If you simply can’t wait to see it, and are in the Los Angeles area, you’re in luck! It’s now playing at the Laemlme Music Hall on Wilshire Blvd in Los Angeles! Liberty: Mother of Exiles explores the past and present of the iconic Statue of Liberty. The documentary follows legendary fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, “godmother” of the statue, in her quest to discover how sculptor Auguste Bartholdi’s dream became a reality and what the statue means to people around the world.
Liberty: Mother of Exiles casts a new light on one of America’s greatest symbols of freedom and explores its surprising history, the challenges it has faced over the years and its impact on generations. Like most Americans, Lady Liberty has an immigrant story and over the course of the film, Diane von Furstenberg, herself an immigrant, realizes how intimately connected her background is with the statue.
Liberty: Mother of Exiles begins with the groundbreaking ceremony for the new museum at the base of the Statue of Liberty and goes on to reveal its dramatic history. The film 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, from street artists and factory workers to the families who lived on Liberty Island until their homes were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.
Get your tickets here.
If you’re in New York tonight, there’s a gallery exhibit, #Liberty2Me, running through this weekend at 399 Lafayette featuring the fabulous patriotic photography Josh Telles. And if you go tonight, be sure to check out a panel discussion with co-director Fenton Bailey.
In anticipation of the HBO premiere of Liberty: Mother of Exiles, Josh Telles photographed HBO talent & influential voices expressing their personal definitions of liberty for the #Liberty2Me campaign. Each participant wrote a custom message answering the prompt “What does liberty mean to you?” to be photographed; they also spoke to their message on camera.
And next week, the exhibit is coming to World of Wonder in Los Angeles, Thursday October 17th. Join us for cocktails Liberty cookies!
Below, listen and watch as Jessica Chastain, RuPaul, Lizzo, Whoopi Goldberg, Wayne Brady, Cyndi Lauper, Regina Spektor, Charo, Big Freedia, Courtney Love, Andy Cohen, and Monica Lewinsky read aloud from Emma Lazarus’ The New Colossus which is mounted on the plaque on the statue itself.
At Monday night’s Liberty: Mother of Exiles big premiere, filmmakers Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato explained that they started filming the documentary before Donald Trump became president and that it became more relevant to them the longer they worked on it.
“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.”
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.’ “
Liberty: Mother of Exiles is produced and directed by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato; executive producers, Diane Von Furstenberg, Sheila Nevins and Jason Blum. For HBO: executive producers, Nancy Abraham and Lisa Heller.