The Queen of Versailles

USA 2012, Documentary, 103’ | Director Lauren Greenfield | DoP Tom Hurwitz | Editor Victor Livingston | Sound Michael Jones | Music Jeff Beal | Production Evergreen Pictures, BBC Storyville, Impact Partners, Candescent Films in co-production with Plus Pictures, DR Danish Broadcasting Corporation, VPRO | World Sales DR International Sales

»You couldn’t invent a better metaphor for America’s economic insanity.«
Peter Keough, Boston Phoenix

»Nothing is really normal about this life.«
Jackie and David Siegels’ adopted daughter

Real-estate billionaire David Siegel and his ex-model wife Jackie are planning to build the biggest private residence in the world: a 90,000 square-metre home for themselves and their eight children. A building where marble cladding alone is worth US$ 5 million, with fairytale-like stairways and a decadent luxury that simply boggles the imagination. The architectural plans, by the way, were inspired by the Palace of Versailles and the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas. However, when the economic crisis breaks out and the housing bubble bursts, the Siegels’ life work comes under threat.

Director Lauren Greenfield first met the couple in 2007 at the height of their financial success. Thanks to their immense wealth, the Siegels were rated as the very epitome of the American Dream. Yet after the crash of 2008, the wreckage of their Versailles building plans become a challenge for the whole family. And it is Jackie – surprisingly enough – who deals with things best. A story about decadence, ambition, loss and the craters of the American Dream.

When studying at Harvard, LAUREN GREENFIELD was able in 1987 to take part in a sponsored programme that allowed her to experiment with documentary film around the world. Today, she is an awardwinning photographer and documentary-film-maker. In 2003, the US magazine Photo voted her one of the 25 most important contemporary photographers in the world. In Germany, her photos have appeared in Geo and Stern magazines and in the ZEIT and Süddeutsche Zeitung colour supplements. She has published three monographs about her photos, has directed four documentary films and exhibited her works in many international museums. Her main theme is the influence of pop culture on our everyday lives.

Films by Lauren Greenfield (Selection)
Best Night Ever
2012 | Beauty CULTure 2011 | Become 2011 | Fashion Show 2010 | Kids + Money 2008 | Teen Spa 2007 | THIN 2006

Awards for ›The Queen of Versailles‹
Best Direction Award, Sundance Film Festival 2012 | Best Documentary, Florida Film Critics 2012 | 5 Best Movies, New York Times 2012 | 10 Best Movies, Slate Magazine 2012 | Best Documentary Prize, BIFFDOC 2012

Lauren Greenfiled
Focus: Excess