PBS Premiere: Aug. 1, 2016Check the broadcast schedule »

Filmmaker Statement

As a documentarian, I happily place my fate and faith in reality. It is my caretaker, the provider of subjects, themes, experiences--all endowed with the power of truth and the romance of discovery. And the closer I adhere to reality the more honest and authentic my tales. After all, the knowledge of the real world is exactly what we need to better understand and therefore possibly to love one another. It's my way of making the world a better place.

-- Albert Maysles, Director (1926-2015)

When fellow producer Jennifer Ash Rudick emailed Maysles Films to say she thought that fashion and design legend Iris Apfel could make a good subject for a film, we had a vague idea of who Iris might be, but we didn't really understand who she was until she came to our Harlem office and sat for a short meeting that ended up lasting hours. My father was so excited to work on a film about Iris. He loved her style, her storytelling and her drive. Although I had worked with him on so many endeavors, from restructuring Maysles Films to assisting on shoots, this was the first time that I collaborated with him on a film--and it was the most intense project yet. It was an amazing experience. It was beautiful to watch my dad film Iris, calmly and patiently with curiosity and persistence.

It was a long project. We filmed for more than four years, and there was a part of all of us, I think, that didn't want it ever to end. Albert wanted to keep filming, and Iris kept coming up with new excuses for us to show up at her home.

Toward the end of filming, producer Laura Coxson and cameraman Nelson Walker were privy to Iris discussing how she put an outfit together. For years we had been begging to get into her personal closet! Finally she agreed to show us how she put together different looks. This scene, which now begins our film, shows her attention to detail and the flair for style that she puts into absolutely everything she creates, from the White House fabric to interior design to the perfect cake for the 100th birthday of her husband, Carl, in 2015.

Iris is a workaholic, passionate and curious in all aspects of her life. She's someone who learns every day by doing what she loves. In that way, she's so much like Albert.

-- Rebekah Maysles, Producer