Working on 'The War Room' was a thrill, not only because we were given such exquisite access to the nerve center of Bill Clinton's first presidential campaign, but for me personally, it was so exciting to be producing my first film and working with documentary filmmaking legends D.A. Pannebaker and Chris Hegedus, who were the film's directors.
I don't think it's a coincidence that 'The War Room' and 'A Perfect Candidate' are films that have been consistently shown and available for rental for 20 years. These are films that are more about the moment in which they were filmed: they also have a great deal to say about larger issues about who we are as a country.
I think the biggest challenge we faced in making 'The September Issue' was the fact that people in the fashion world are very suspicious of cameras. They're used to a camera being the enemy, something that is prying and looking to catch you in a compromising position, something that's judging you.
Belushi was one of my very first heroes. At a time when film, television, and music were undergoing tectonic shifts within American culture, he was at the center of it all. At that moment, he had the number one show on television, the number one film at the box office, and the number one record on the charts.
The presidency made John Adams an old man long before there was television. As early as the nation's first contested presidential election, with Adams and Jefferson running to succeed Washington, you had a brutal, ugly, vicious campaign that was divisive and as partisan as anything we're experiencing today.
'The September Issue' is really a film about Anna Wintour's relationship with long time 'Vogue' Creative Director Grace Coddington. The two of them have been working together for two decades, and the extraordinary symbiosis between them has left an indelible mark on the fashion industry.
I first thought about doing a project about Anna Wintour and 'Vogue' when I read an article in 'New York Magazine' about the Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute Ball, the annual fundraising gala that Anna oversees. It created such a fascinating portrait that I couldn't help but be compelled.
As with the subjects in all of my films, the incentive is left to the subject to determine on their own. I never ask someone why they say yes to me. After all, if you invited someone to join you for dinner, and they accepted your invitation, your next question wouldn't be, 'Why are you saying yes?'
Directing plays lacked the immediacy and connection to real world events that journalism offered; journalism lacked the drama, theatricality and subjective storytelling of theater. It wasn't until I had the idea of making a documentary film about the 1992 presidential campaign that these two passions came together in 'The War Room.'