Movie gives a voice to Wall Street's famous bull
If Wall Street's iconic bull could talk, oh, the stories he could tell. And he's telling them now.
Documentarian Mark Nickolas gives the bull his own voice in the short film "My Life in the Canyon of Heroes," in which one of New York's most visited landmarks provides a first-person account of how he came to represent the good and the bad of the world's financial capital.
Gene Ferreri, a quintessential New Yorker (and the father of Nickolas' girlfriend), provides the narrator's voice.
"I think the only way that you can tell the story in a way that engages people is to put a voice to this," Nickolas told CNBC. "And this is a New Yorker—he was made right up the road in SoHo—so I wanted a good, thick new York accent."
"My Life" was done as Nickolas' final project while attending The New School and recently became a finalist in the Smithsonian in Motion Short Film contest.
Italian-American artist Arturo Di Modica created "Charging Bull" after the 1987 market collapse and gave it to the city as a gift, even installing it himself. He still lives in lower Manhattan and often walks past his creation.
CNBC brought the the filmmaker and the sculptor together at the bull, where Di Modica said he was pleased with the film. He reflected on his original vision of the bull as something to "give strength and power to the young people of America after the stock market crashed."
Soon after the bull's debut, Di Modica said, he was asked to do a bear.
"I said, 'I'm not going to do the bear,' " he told CNBC. "I did the bull because the bull represents what I want to say. The bear goes down; I want America to go up."
But the bull's meaning has evolved over time, and Nickolas said he was particularly inspired in researching how its depiction has changed—specifically during the Occupy Wall Street protests.
"It's more than ironic [when] one generation's symbol of free expression becomes the next generation's symbol of what's wrong with the country," he said. And while Nickolas doesn't intend for his film to be a political statement, he doesn't mind if viewers leave it with a new perspective.
"I'm trying to take the bull away from the bankers and back to the people, which is what he [Di Modica] had in mind to begin with," he said. "I think the film does just a little bit of that."
—By CNBC's Sue Herera and Uptin Saiidi
CORRECTION: This version corrects the spelling of Ferreri's first name to Gene.