Hugh Hefner says he was ‘visibly moved’ when he first saw the final version of Canuck filmmaker Brigitte Berman’s documentary about his life a few weeks ago at the famed Playboy mansion in Los Angeles.
On Saturday, the 83-year-old publishing and media icon attended the world premiere of Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel at Toronto’s Elgin Theatre as part of the Toronto International Film Festival, accompanied by three of his ‘girlfriends.’
‘This is a very special day for me,’ he said in a Q&A session following the packed screening, adding, ‘I love Brigitte and I love what she was able to do.’
Berman, an Oscar-winning director for her 1987 doc Artie Shaw: Time Is All You’ve Got, won the trust of Hefner through their mutual love of jazz, and set out to make a film about the Playboy founder that focused on his serious side – a story that has never been told.
‘The dreams and beliefs that are reflected on the screen are the same dreams that I had when I was a little boy,’ Hefner quipped, as he talked about his climb to the top from humble beginnings, and his fight for civil rights and sexual liberation in the U.S.
The aging yet energetic Hefner also discussed his favorite movies – topping them all is Casablanca – and the election of Barack Obama, while he brushed off any suggestions that he’s getting too old to run his publishing empire.
‘My mother lived until [the age of] 101!’ he declared.