Winner 2008

The Gates

Maysles Films in association with HBO Documentary Films and CVJ

In 1979, provocative grand-scale artists Christo and Jean-Claude approached New York City with a proposal to create a temporary work of art in Central Park. Officialdom said no. Twenty-four years later, following dozens of high-profile works of landscape art around the globe, the artists finally got the city’s approval to construct The Gates, 7,503 saffron colored gates and fabric panels that lined footpaths in the park. This cinema verite documentary chronicles the decades-long struggle of Christo and Jean-Claude to realize their vision. Conceived as a “love letter to New York City,” The Gates shows us the soaring beauty of the city as viewed from the verdant splendor of Central Park and how an anaconda of vibrant orange enhances that beauty. The film gives voice to the broad spectrum of city dwellers and visitors who braved a cold February in the city to congregate and walk through The Gates, and it memorializes their wide-ranging reactions to this improbable artistic extravagance. For giving us an artful documentary about art at its grandest, The Gates receives a Peabody Award.


Executive producers: CVJ, Sheila Nevins (HBO), Hans-Robert Eisenhauer (ARTE). Supervising producer: Lisa Heller (HBO). Producers: Antonio Ferrera, Maureen A. Ryan, Vladimir Yavachev. Directors: Antonio Ferrera, Albert Maysles, Matthew Prinzing. Editors: Antonio Ferrera, Matthew Prinzing.