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antiTainment NEWS: Michael Moore Hates America Says New Documentary


05-19-04 antiGUY - Opinion
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Update: As controversial filmmaker Michael Moore gains headlines while promoting his latest “documentary”, "Fahrenheit 9/11", at the Cannes Film Festival this week, another filmmaker is turning the tables on Moore.  Mike Wilson is reportedly directing a feature film called “Michael Moore Hates America,” that attempts to offer a counter view of America to the one you will find in Moore’s films. 

The film also parodies Moore's "Roger & Me", except this time it's Wilson trying to sit down with Moore for an interview, not Moore going after the CEO of General Motors.

The website promoting the film states, “Contrary to its title, Michael Moore Hates America isn’t a hatchet job on the filmmaker. It’s a journey across the nation where we meet celebrities, scholars and average folks alike, all of whom are living the American Dream and proving that America is a great place to be! In the process, we’ll look at Michael Moore’s claims about the country, its people, and our way of life.” 

The film is scheduled for release this summer according to the website. In the FAQ section of the site the filmmaker says, “We’re feverishly filming, writing and editing as we go along. We’re shooting for a theatrical release at the same time Moore’s next film ‘Fahrenheit 911’ comes out.” 

However, there is no indication about how the film will be distributed or if a distribution company has been retained. 

A trailer for the film is currently available on the website and features an interview with Penn of Penn & Teller fame. The fact sheet also states that Bruce Willis, Dennis Miller and Goldie Hawn were interviewed for the feature film that “satirizes” Moore and “proves him wrong –on virtually everything…” The fact sheet also says that the filmmaker interviewed the “people Moore has damaged for self-gain”. 

Part of Wilson’s pitch for the film is the fact that he has been unable to obtain an interview with Michael Moore “to get his side of the story”. Wilson Posted an open letter on his website in hopes that Moore would read it. “Just in case you visit this page, I want to let you know we’ve been faxing, writing, emailing and calling your agent Ari Emanuel, your media people, your production company and you to request an interview with you—to date, nobody has called back. I’d really like to get your side of the story—seriously, no tricks, no bait-and-switch! We just want to sit down and hear why you do what you do. If you’re interested, see the contact page. Otherwise, you might end up looking like Roger Smith (you know, that famous, rich guy who avoided that poor but passionate guy with a camera and editing suite). I think we know how it turned out for him…”

However, Wilson told CNSNews.com that he did have a run in with Moore and captured it on film. Wilson confronted Moore in October 2003 while Moore was on a book signing tour. "When I walked up and challenged [Moore] at the University of Minnesota during the Q and A session on his book tour, he started screaming at me, 'You hate America. People like you hate America. Everything I do is because I love this country'”.  Wilson told CNSNews.com that the incident after he was booed by 7,000 Moore fans. 

However, he did capture the encounter on film and adds, "We did film the whole thing so it will be in the film. So, I guess in a sense he did give us something probably more valuable than if he actually sat down with us." 

Wilson says he went as far as making an offer to Moore that he would "give 5% of the profits from the film to Buell Elementary School in Flint, MI.," in exchange for a 45 minute interview. Moore has not yet responded to the request. 

Apparently, having his phone calls returned by Moore’s people isn’t the only resistance Wilson has faced while making this film. In the FAQ section of the website he takes on the question of the devotion of Moore’s followers, “I’ve noticed that Moore’s fans may be some of the least tolerant people in the world. I’ve actually received death threats from people who claim that it’s important to be heard, but demand that I shut up… I guess the 1st Amendment only applies when we’re at a protest or are demanding redistribution of wealth…” 

What was Wilson’s reason for making this film, aside from an obvious distaste for Michael Moore?  "We're using a documentary to show how a documentary filmmaker can be manipulative ... Michael Moore is going to take Charlton Heston out of context. He's going to take President Bush out of context. He's going to take the kids he interviewed from Columbine out of context, to his own end," Wilson told CNSNews.com.

Wilson has also commented on the Disney/Moore controversy and offers a solution to help Moore get his film to the masses. In the May 19th "Filmmaker's Journal" Wilson writes about an initiative started at Moorewatch.com, that encourages Moore to prove that "the message is more important than the money" by releasing "Fahrenheit 9/11" on the Internet for free, before its theatrical release.  

It sounds like a good idea to Wilson and he writes, "If [Moore]’s more interested in the 'truth' being revealed to the world than he is the payday, he’ll do it. But if it’s all just a game designed to increase his personal wealth at the expense of his loyal followers, he won’t. It’s that simple." 

Not letting a chance to hammer away at that theme, Wilson writers, "The other day, I saw a clip of Moore stating that he would release the film, even if he had to commit an act of civil disobedience to do it. He said that it’s crucial that people see this film before the election, and he’d break the law to make sure they do. I’d like to point out that it’s not possible to commit an act of civil disobedience in the process of exercising free speech, but Moore suddenly thinks he’s Ghandi, so I guess that fact is lost on him." 

Wilson does see that this tactic might give Moore fans fuel to call him a hypocrite, but unlike Moore, Wilson says "I’d just like to point out that I make no apologies for the fact  that I hope to make a profit on this film. I’m intellectually honest enough to know that this is a business, and you should know that I have no illusions about saving the world."

But will this film see the light of day? Or will the powerful forces in the Moore camp keep this film from being released?  Is there really a film or is this a parody? The notion that it is a parody can be dispelled by the fact that Wilson asks for donations and investors on the website. But the question on whether Wilson will find a distributor is legitimate, however, that topic is not addressed on the website. Maybe Wilson should hit up Disney? But it would be fun to see a film poking fun at Moore, in Moore style, simply for entertainment value. As for the content, you can expect it to be intentionally spun like a Michael Moore film, just in the other direction.  It will be interesting to see Moore’s reaction if the film does get a release. We know he can dish it out, but can he take it right back? Or will he simply call Wilson a “whacko” and not address the claims made in the film?

Related Links:
CNSNews.com interview and article about Mike Wilson and the film. (May 17, 2004)
The film’s website
The film’s trailer 
MooreWatch.com's call to Moore to release "Fahrenheit 9/11" on the net for free
 


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