Jacqueline Oud - Culture

Michael Moore finally found a distributor for its controversed Farenheit 9/11

Winning is not all it takes

The 2004 winner of the Cannes Film Festival is clearly a political issue. It is however known that the Cannes Film Festival is not like the USA "Hollywoodian" Film Festivals where big budgets prevail the more artistic film creations. Therefor it is not that strange that a film like Michael Moore’s Farenheit 9/11 won this years Top Prize.

Besides, the winners are always criticised especially when the winning film is produced by someone from the same nationality as the president of the Festival, as was the case this year in Cannes with Quentin Tarantino.

However, with Michael Moore’s latest creation winning the Cannes Film Festival is clearly not opening all doors to distribution due to its controversy.

Micheal Moore

After his former productions, including the latest success of Bowling for Columbine, Michael Moore has clearly established himself as an anti-Bush politics reporter. In a country where freedom of expression is supposed to be the highest right, the Moore-Approach is not appreciated by all. On top, he is not really trying to cool down the commotion he causes and seems to know how to benefit of this propaganda to see his image being confirmed.

His production Farenheit 9/11 is a confirmation of his attacks. This time the film is even more a documentary and moreover based on archived journalism material, trying to show the various "wrong" steps that were taken from even before the terrorists war till now. Provocation is clearly the issue here, and according to the critics, this is not so hard to do with material that raw and self explanatory. Michael Moore plays on his subjective way the string of the people’s emotions. The people are the heroes and Mr Bush and his government are depicted as the "bad guys".

Difficulties to find a distributor

No reason that finding a distributor for his film is not that easy after all. Micheal Moore seemed convinced that it wouldn’t take long before he would have found a suitable distributor, but things turned around the other way.

The controversy around the Producer and the film itself made Disney refuse to sell the film. Other usual distributors were afraid of reprisals and only few attempted negotiations. In the end, the Weinstein brothers - from Miramax - bought the rights personally and found a taker in the Canadian Lions Gate Films. The Lions Gate Films already distributed more or less sensitive films before but declared being aware of the heavy weight around this special documentary.

According to the latest information, Farenheit 9/11 will be shown in about 1000 USA theatres as from June 25. For European distribution there is not yet any information available, but should probably take less difficulties.

Read more information about Michael Moore or Lions Gate Films

Michael Moore’s Farenheit claims to be as selective as certain USA press agencies regarding Mr Bush’s politics. Whether in politics or media, selectivity is very subjectif.

[2 June 2004]

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