The fascinating and compelling documentary The Queen of Versailles tells the story of a billionaire family and their financial challenges in the wake of the economic crisis, proving that even the extremely rich are not immune. The rags-to-riches story of David and Jackie Siegel begins with their construction of the biggest house in America, and then falls apart when their real estate empire falters, leading to major changes in the lifestyle of the household, which includes eight young children and various domestic staff. It is a tale that is familiar to many, but on a scale that is astonishing.
During this recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, director Lauren Greenfield talked about what inspired her to make this documentary, how long the whole process took, her journey with the Siegels, getting close to her subjects while still remaining a documentarian, why she’s always been intrigued by wealth and consumerism (which she is currently doing project about, for next year), and what drew her to documentary filmmaking over fiction work. Check out what she had to say after the jump.
The American Dream is a beautiful thing, unless you build your empire on the back of a bubble only to have that bubble burst. So goes the rise and fall of the Siegel family, captured by documentary director Lauren Greenfield in The Queen of Versailles. Billionaire David Siegel and his wife Jackie (30 years his junior) built a 90,000 square foot mansion upon the shifting sands of the real estate market. When that market collapsed, the Siegels were in the same boat as the rest of us (more or less). The new trailer evokes a few laughs, a heap of frustration and just the slightest whisper of sympathy. Hit the jump to check it out, along with a poster featuring Mrs. Siegel and the monstrous $100 million mansion. The Queen of Versailles opens July 20th.
Legendary guitarist Slash (Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver) has had his first picture acquired for his horror production company, Slasher Films. Anchor Bay Films picked up Nothing to Fear at Sundance today, a film based on the legend that the town of Stull, Kansas is actually one of seven gateways to Hell. This premise explains the promo poster, which you can see after the jump. Nothing to Fear will be directed by Anthony Leonardi III, the creature designer and storyboard artist for such films as Constantine and 47 Ronin.
Also, two documentaries had their North American distribution rights picked up. Magnolia Pictures grabbed The Queen of Versailles, Lauren Greenfield’s (Thin) take on billionaires Jackie and David Siegel as they build America’s largest house (90,000 sq ft) and watch it collapse with the market. Magnolia is planning a summer release. Sony Pictures Classics acquired domestic rights to debut director Malik Bendjelloul’s Searching for Sugar Man, a tale of 1970’s undiscovered rock icon, Rodriguez, and how his disappearance inspired two South African fans to seek him out. Hit the jump for press releases on each project. Click here to get caught up on all of our Sundance 2012 coverage.