Spielberg accepts Liberty Medal in Philly

    Filmmaker Steven Spielberg was in Philadelphia Thursday to accept the Liberty Medal at the Constitution Center.

    Filmmaker Steven Spielberg was in Philadelphia Thursday to accept the Liberty Medal at the Constitution Center. Governor Ed Rendell, former president Bill Clinton, and actress Whoopi Goldberg were on hand to present the award given to a person who strives to secure the ideals of American liberty.

    Listen:
    [audio: 091008pcliberty.mp3]

    About two hundred people gathered on the Constitution Center lawn to watch clips from Spielberg’s films about the holocaust, World War 2, and African slave ships. The presentation focused on the films of social import. But some of the speakers, including Rendell and Clinton, remembered that his films are also entertaining.

    While accepting the medal, Spielberg said both movie-making and American democracy depend on capturing the imagination.

    Spielberg: Would the American experiment had succeeded if Jefferson was a bad prose stylist? Would the Union have endured and slavery have abolished if Lincoln hadn’t been the writer of genius? Like Jefferson – whom he revered – he clearly thought the artistry of the text mattered.

    Spielberg is one of the most popular filmmakers of all time. But he said America must protect art that is not commercially successful.

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