Roger Friedman from Showbiz411 and I were the only reporters in a packed audience at the premiere of “In God We Trust” who recognized that Andrew Madoff had slipped into the theater to see the documentary about his father, Bernie Madoff.
Here’s the report on Showbiz411.
Directed by Victor Kubicek and Derek Anderson, the film is told through the eyes of Madoff’s longtime secretary, Eleanor Squallari, who tried to examine how she unwittingly became a part of his massive Ponzi scheme and possibly money laundering operation. The film was screened to a packed audience at the SVA Theater in Chelsea as part of the Tribeca Film Festival.
Andrew sat up close in the theater with his girlfriend eating popcorn. I took a seat right in front of them. Friedman sat in back of them and spoke to them before and after the screening.
I asked Andrew before the screening if it would be tough for him to sit through the film. “Parts of it will be certainly,” he said.
Andrew wore a powder blue sweater, and he is completely bald. He seemed surprised that I recognized him, but he was cordial, although press shy.
Andrew Madoff was presumably there to support Squallari, who had told me on the red carpet that she was still in touch with him. I asked her how he was doing, and she told me, “Right now he has a relapse of his cancer, and he’s dealing with life like we all are.”
You would think it might be excruciating for Andrew Madoff to sit through a film that documents the financial horrors his father inflicted on his victims, but Andrew not only sat through the screening, but they stayed through the Q&A. His fiancée laughed, maybe nervously, when the documentary mentioned that authorities ruled out Squallari’s involvement in Bernie’s crimes because he had set up no pension fund for his secretary and she had no savings (she eventually lost her home).
It was particularly ironic then that the first question to Squallari at the Q&A came from an audience member – not realizing that Andrew was sitting in the row behind him – who asked about the Madoff sons and their involvement in Bernie’s crimes.
On the red carpet, Squallari told me the movie was a three-year-journey and that it was therapeutic and she hoped it would lead to changes in current legislature.
“I couldn’t get a job, so I had the time to do this,” she said. “And I was also working with the authorities, going to lawyers who were representing clients, and I felt very good about that. So when they [Kubicek and Anderson] wanted to do the story, I felt this would be a good thing to do. And it would be something to do to feel good about myself and it did.”
Andrew and his fiancée didn’t attend the crowded after party at the Gramercy Park Hotel, which was in the elegant penthouse and too crowded to even move. Squallari seemed relieved and happy it was over and that the audience liked the film.