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WATCH: Spielberg Opens Up About Effort to Stop Hate, Something He "Was Put On This Earth To Do"

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood May 5, 2014 at 3:37PM

As Steven Spielberg's Shoah Foundation celebrates its 20th anniversary, the busy director sat down with Maria Shriver for an exclusive interview, which aired this morning on NBC's "Today," discussing his work within the foundation and its new IWitness program, a student-oriented initiative. Watch below.
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Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg

As Steven Spielberg's Shoah Foundation celebrates its 20th anniversary, the busy director sat down with Maria Shriver for an exclusive interview, which aired this morning on NBC's "Today," discussing his work within the foundation and its new IWitness program, a student-oriented initiative. Watch below.

Using the proceeds from his 7-time Oscar winning film "Schindler's List," which hit theaters 21 years ago, Spielberg formed the Foundation to videotape and collect stories and testimonies from 52,000 survivors of genocide -- from the Holocaust to Nanjing and Rwanda. In his interview, he elaborates on the IWitness program he's establishing within the foundation, which focuses on educational outreach, training students to be more empathetic and accepting of differences. The idea is they'll hone these life skills by watching the Foundation's archive of video interviews.

Spielberg is clear on his message for students: "Stop bigotry. Stop bullying. Be an active teacher through history." In the interview he reveals he himself was bullied as a young person. He also refers to the tapes amassed by Shoah: "I feel like I have 52,000 grandparents that I never knew I had, and I adopted them, and when we meet in person, they adopt me."

Meanwhile, Shoah is gearing up for its 20th anniversary Ambassadors for Humanity Gala on May 7, and they have a very special guest arriving in person: President Obama.


This article is related to: Video, Video, Steven Spielberg, Steven Spielberg


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.