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Saturday 26th June, 2004
PRO-TRUTH FESTIVAL COUNTERS WORLD'S LEADING CROCKUMENTARY MAKER
Just as "Fahrenheit 9/11" opens in selected US theatres, many filmmakers are readying documentaries debunking the extreme-left views of Mr. Michael Moore. (Wags have already dubbed the diatribe as Fahrenheit 7/11 in reference to the amply-girthed Mr. Moore's penchant for heart-attack meals.)
A film festival is ready to feature them, as well as other movies made by moderates who disagree with the socialist leaning Mr. Moore.

American Film Renaissance is poignantly scheduled to run September 9-11 in Dallas, Texas according to co-founder Jim Hubbard who is currently negotiating to show two films critical of Moore.

The first is "Michael Moore Hates America," made by newcomer Michael Wilson and funded partially by Brian Cartmell, who made a small fortune when he sold his Internet domain registration company, eNic, to Verisign.

The feature film, made for $200,000 and featuring appearances from Penn Jillette and John Stossel, among others, is looking for a theatrical and DVD distribution deal.

The second is the bigger-budget effort "Michael & Me" that was made by talk-radio star and soon-to-be TV host Larry Elder. The 90-minute documentary takes on Moore's 2002 anti-gun documentary, "Bowling for Columbine," Elder said.

"My film is a defence of those who own guns and of the Second Amendment," said Elder, whose "The Larry Elder Show" from Warner Bros. Prods. starts Sept. 13 on CBS affiliates in most major markets.

Elder said that he borrows liberally from Moore, including a "Bowling"-like animated segment that has Elder interviewing an obviously tense Moore. "He's sweating and sweating to the point he's reed thin, then he pulls out a gun and shoots me."

Moore didn't agree to an interview for either Elder's movie or Wilson's. "I did ambush him at a book signing in Santa Monica, and that's in the film," Elder said. "I asked him how many times Americans used guns for defensive purposes. He had nothing. No blooming clue."

For Moore's part, he said he's familiar with the title "Michael Moore Hates America" but doubts the movie even exists, beyond the trailer that can be seen on the Internet.

With his usual attack dog trick, Mr. Moore blusters that "You're being duped by the kooky right. I've been waiting to see this movie. It sounds like great science fiction." Mr. Moore also claimed that hadn't heard of Elder's film "Michael & Me."

But then he has made a lot of claims that are provably false. Such as his lies about President Bush personally ensuring members of Bin Laden's extended family were hurried out of the country.

In fact, his hero Richard Clarke (on whom he places so much store in Fahrenheit 9/11) has repeatedly admitted that he personally cleared the Bin Laden crew for export. Mr. Moore clearly knows the truth as Clarke has been intimatately involved in the movie. An unbiased observer might conclude that this fact alone shows Mr. Moore is full of it.

As for the festival, Hubbard said that about 10 films are confirmed, and he'll cap it at about two dozen. Film reviewer Michael Medved is a confirmed guest as is Lionel Chetwynd, whose Showtime movie "DC 9/11," starring Timothy Bottoms as President Bush, will be shown.

"I'm itching to show that anywhere I can," Chetwynd said. "Like with all cable films, you want to keep it out there as long as you can to get it in front of as wide an audience as possible."

Hubbard and wife, Ellen, both attorneys, co-founded the festival in the spirit of competition. Boycott efforts, like the one from the group MoveAmericaForward.org that is asking exhibitors not to show Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11," "are for the weak," Hubbard said.

"We want everyone to see Michael Moore's film," he said. "We also want everyone to see 'Michael Moore Hates America.' Conservatives complain about institutional bias in Hollywood. They need to stop whining and get out there and produce."

"Documentaries," added filmmaker Wilson, "are not 'Lions of the Serengeti' anymore. In this politically charged climate, they're skewed to an agenda, be it Michael Moore's or mine."

Not all films screened at the American Film Renaissance will invoke Moore. Patrick Wright's documentary, "Is It True What They Say About Ann?" focuses on Ann Coulter, the Fox News pundit.

And the war on terror also is expected to be a dominant theme at the American Film Renaissance.

"Liberal Hollywood has basically ignored the subject," filmmaker Jason Apuzzo said. His entry to the festival is "Terminal Island" and stars his wife, Govindini Murty, with a cameo from Irvin Kershner , director of "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Never Say Never Again." Kershner, who Apuzzo noted does not share the same politics as Apuzzo and Murty, nevertheless mentored the couple in the making of their film.

"Conservative messages don't have a chance in contemporary Hollywood," Apuzzo said. "But there's another side in Hollywood. We are small in numbers but passionate."

"Terminal Island" is a black-and-white feature film about a woman being stalked by a Muslim terrorist who is himself being stalked by a bounty hunter.

"When you shop a script like this around," said Murty, "studio execs say, 'Is this about Muslim terrorists? We don't want to touch it."'

So why have a couple of lawyers from Texas created a film festival? "I've always been interested in the cultural and political messages in film," Jim Hubbard said. "To be frank, whenever there is such a message, it's liberal. For 40 years the left has had a near monopoly, and we're going to counter that."

"Either agree with me moron, or I'll shoot ya dead... that's the American Leftist way!!"


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