What an honor to have my first full-length documentary selected by The New Yorker as one of the Best Movies of 2020. Seven years in the making, this recognition is well beyond anything I had expected. Many thanks to all those who pitched in including of course the incomparable Sam Waterston, and the remarkable Keir Dullea, both gave generously of their time with jaw-dropping performances. Also like to thank my executive producers Charles Scribner III and Richard ‘Deej’ Webb.
Inspired by a 1996 New Yorker article by the esteemed Westport writer, Barbra Probst Solomon, who first connected the Gatsby dots to Westport, Deej Webb and myself picked up Barbara’s baton because her piece was ignored by the Fitzgerald scholars. Besides writing numerous books and essays, Barbara had also started a literary magazine with her good friends Saul Bellow and Norman Mailer, and yet nobody bit on her thesis.
We interviewed more than a dozen scholars, dug into the archives at Princeton, made a presentation at a Fitzgerald Society Conference in Montgomery, Alabama. We even journeyed up to Burlington Vermont when it hit 18 degrees below zero to film one of Fitzgerald’s granddaughters, who incidentally, rarely speaks to anyone
What we uncovered was not only surprising, it made us realize that the Westport Fitzgerald home was much more than just about Gatsby, which let’s face it, should suffice for any literary buff (come to the event to learn more).
But the narrative isn’t just about what happened here in 1920, it’s about what’s happening today. This remarkable home is still unprotected–meaning, anyone could buy it and make it tomorrow’s Teardown of the Day, just like Ray Bradbury’s home in Los Angeles, which in 2015 was torn down before anyone could stop it.