Friday, September 10, 2004

Star Telegram : Addison film fest offers flip side of Michael Moore



Star-Telegram Pop Culture Critic

There are two movies about Michael Moore screening at this weekend's American Film Renaissance Festival in Addison -- but don't expect Moore to be there. At this festival, calling itself the country's first conservative-themed filmfest, Moore would be about as welcome as a teetotaler at a liquor convention.

"Actually, we're being touted as an anti-Michael Moore festival, and that was never our intention," says founder Jim Hubbard. "We support Michael Moore in what he's doing to get his message out there, but we had this film festival in mind long before Farenheit 9-11 hit the stage."

Hubbard, a Dallas attorney who likes film and is politically conservative, says he has long been curious about what he perceived to be liberal messages in mainstream films. "I'm not one of those people who condemn Hollywood; Hollywood does good things, too. Conservatives are wrong because they attack Hollywood. America needs more speech, not less. But what our side should do is quit complaining and start producing."

That's why he put together the festival, which begins today and runs through Sunday at the Studio Movie Grill Theater. Most of his selections are documentaries, including the two anti-Moore pieces: Michael Moore Hates America, featuring Penn Jillette and John Stossel; and Michael and Me, from talk-show host Larry Elder. Others include looks at controversial pundit Ann Coulter and the The Passion of the Christ phenomenon.

The festival's fictional films -- DC 9/11: A Time of Crisis from 2003 with Timothy Bottoms and To End All Wars from 2001 with Keifer Sutherland -- aren't as current.

Hubbard says that with documentaries getting a lot of attention this year, his festival could be coming along at the right time. In fact, he's glad Farenheit 9/11 has earned more than $100 million. "My only hope is that Michael Moore Hates America does the same," he says.

(click on the title for details of the screenings)

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