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This past weekend marked the triumphant debut of “Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel,” which blasted onto the festival circuit with a powerful one-two punch. The documentary premiered on September 3rd at the Venice International Film Festival, and then showed at the highly-selective Telluride Film Festival the very next day.

Never one to miss a beat (or show up late) director Lisa Immordino Vreeland jetted from Venice to Colorado so that she could personally attend and participate in press conferences and audience Q&As. Oceans apart, the doc played to packed houses. In glamorous Venice, the audience included Italian socialites and the Editor-in-Chief of Italian Vogue; while in mountains of Colorado, the vibe was one of relaxed intimacy. “All the filmmakers know each other,” Immordino Vreeland says,  “you feel like you’re talking in your own living room.”

She was gratified by the positive reception, explaining that at both festivals “the crowd had an amazing energy,” and that it felt like the audience was walking away from the film “newly inspired.” Preliminary reviews are in, including coverage in Variety, The New York Times and The Daily Beast, with critical acclaim across the board.

The film is “lighthearted yet informative,” according to Times writer Jessica Michault, who counts interviews with family members among the most poignant moments. Variety predicts that the film will “thrive at fests…” and you get the sense that author Jay Weissberg was pleasantly surprised to be impressed by both the film and its subject. Isabel Wilkinson’s extensive write up for The Daily Beast reveals direct quotes from interview subjects including Anjelica Huston and Diane Von Furstenberg, plus many of Mrs. Vreeland’s own humorous musings (after her departure from Vogue she wondered, “I was only 70. What was I supposed to do, retire?”). 

What the reviewers seem to share is a newfound respect for Mrs. Vreeland — her penchant for fantasy, her discriminating eye, her inimitable vocabulary, and, above all, her remarkable accomplishments.

Up next for the film: Toronto, where an exclusive buyers’ screening has been scheduled. 

Photograph by: Priscilla Rattazzi  


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