Filmmaker Lauren Greenfield was joined by Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood for a look at her new award-winning documentary "The Queen of Versailles" Monday night at the Landmark E Street Theatre. Greenfield attended Harvard with Donovan and the two reconnected a couple of years back. LaHood was there because he's tight with Donovan, he told Yeas & Nays. The film, explained Greenfield, started out as a look at Westgate Resorts founder David Siegel and his wife Jackie's quest to build the biggest house in American, their own personal Versailles, if you will. But then September 2008 happened, hitting Westgate hard, with the couple halting construction on their dream home and eventually (spoiler alert) losing a large resort property in Las Vegas.
While both Donovan and LaHood gave the film a thumbs-up, Siegel is not a fan, suing Greenfield for defamation. "He doesn't like where I stop the movie after losing Vegas," Greenfield explained to the audience. "Jackie on the other hand -- and they are still married so here's the quandary -- was at the opening of Sundance, bowed and blew kisses to the audience, has been to several festivals including [SilverDocs in Silver Spring Sunday] night and was signing autographs at the Westgate resort."
"Queen of Versailles" opens July 27 on E Street.