Not many people get to take the journey up the small spiral staircase that twists around the spine of the Statue of Liberty. Even fewer get to look through the windows that glow brightly on top of her crown. Then, there was our small crew with Donna Lawrence Productions that had the privilege of creating the film for the new museum. The project had been years in the making and I felt really lucky to be the Art Director on that team. Today, we were tech scouting one of America's most iconic landmarks and engineering marvels.
Our goal was to cinematically capture this experience of rising up through the statue and out the windows to see the New York City skyline. On my way up, each step spun me past a new fold in her metal skirt or under a giant support beam that told an equally big story. Every 10-20 feet or so there was a little platform that I could step onto and take in the view without worrying that I'd miss the next teeny step.
Once I reached the top, I was expecting the windows to be as massive as what they represent, but they were small. Some, rivaling the scale of an average airplane window. Honestly, the trip up was a bit dizzying and claustrophobic, but once I was inside the crown with the 9 other team members there was a shared connection about how special this project really was. Truly a once in a lifetime meeting and assignment.
We all tightly gathered around to figure out how to get a film crew and equipment up there and what time of day the sun would perfectly flare into the 7th window. We discussed how close a drone could fly to her torch and what shots we needed from the exterior. On our way down we discussed rigs and cameras and how we could shed light on some of the most interesting architectural details that no one ever gets to see.
Ultimately, the 20 minute film premiered on the day the museum opened up to the world and seeing the process come full circle was extremely gratifying. As the Art Director on this film, my role was to figure out how to bring the visual story to life in a way that could fuse new and old assets together into a single immersive experience. The 3 part film spans across 3 massive screens that occupy their own standing theater. The third part is when you feel the rise through the statue, out the crown and back to a horizon showing an 1886 New York Horizon. It's a beautiful moment and an inspiring story.
Even though approximately 10,000 people visit that statue of liberty each day, I know this film won't be easy for many to experience. But on the off chance you do, I hope you enjoy!