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Queen of Versailles comes to Woods Hole

August 1st, 2012 by Beth Colt

Great Harbor with Lauren Greenfield, director of Queen of Versailles

The Woods Hole film festival is in full swing this week.  Lauren Greenfield, director of the hot new documentary Queen of Versailles stayed with us at the Woods Hole Inn, and she screened her incredible movie to a stunned Woods Hole audience on Sunday night.

Lauren’s gift is capturing the zeitgeist, and she sure did it this time, chronicling the riches to rags tale of the extraordinary Siegel family of Orlando, Florida.  The movie opens as the Siegels are building the largest house in America, which they have aptly named “Versailles.”  The story turns dark when the crash of 2008 clobbers Siegel’s timeshare business, and we are rapt as these over-consumers are faced with what every American faced in the recession, writ very, very large.

A still from the movie Queen of Versailles

While tiny Woods Hole has it’s share of multi-million dollar waterfront spreads, the currency here tends to be less plastic surgery and more Phd’s, less private plane than leather-bound book, less limousine than yacht.  None the less, this cautionary tale hit home as locals talked about it’s themes and colorful imagery for days.

Patrons of the Woods Hole Film Festival were treated to a “master class” with Greenfield on Tuesday afternoon.  In a two-hour session, she traced the roots of her work back to her undergraduate years at Harvard, and made connections with images about beauty culture (the subject of a documentary of the same title), current youth obsession with money (kids + money a short documentary from 2008) and our relationship to celebrity and fame.  Greenfield also screened Thin – her 2006 documentary and book project for HBO chronicling the emotional reality of life within the halls of a residential treatment center for eating disorders.

Greenfield was joined by her husband Frank Evers (executive producer of Queen of Versailles as well as founder of the photo agency Institute for Artist’s Management) and their two kids for the week.  They were spotted at lunch at Quicks Hole, exploring Great Harbor in an outboard, and at dinner at both the Landfall and Fishmonger Café.

Waterfront dining at the Landfall in Woods Hole

Queen of Versailles director, Lauren Greenfield.

Our little village is a  mecca of the talented — we may have to start calling Lauren the Queen of Woods Hole.

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