Saturday, May 29, 2004

Berg says he's concerned about safety in Iraq on Michael Moore footage - AP Regional:

Associated Press Writer

May 29, 2004, 12:27 PM EDT

In a 16-minute interview shot for Michael Moore's latest film, slain American Nicholas Berg said he was nervous about the security situation in Iraq as he prepared to travel there as an independent businessman, Berg's family said Saturday.

Moore's crew shot the footage at an Iraqi business conference in Arlington, Va., on Dec. 4, brother David Berg said. Nicholas Berg's decapitated body was found in Baghdad on May 8, and a video of his killing was posted on an Islamic militant Web site several days later.

David Berg said Moore has handled the situation with "dignity, respect and discipline."

"Michael Moore has really been a total class act with this whole thing," David Berg said. "He could have sold this to the media or stuck it in his movie."

Moore on Thursday confirmed he had footage of Berg _ shot for the anti-President Bush film 'Fahrenheit 9/11' _ but said he would share it only with the family. Berg's brother and sister praised Moore for that, and said they would also keep the footage private.

Berg's sister, Sara Berg, said her brother told Moore's crew he was nervous about his safety in Iraq.

'He recognized it was a concern, and he kind of pointed out that he'd worked in difficult situations before,' Sara Berg said. 'It's definitely something that he didn't shrug off.' "

Flint woman spotlighted in Moore's latest movie

Flint woman spotlighted in Moore's latest movie:

Lila Lipscomb used to hate antiwar protesters.

This summer, though, she is likely to be embraced by them, thanks to the key roles she and her late son -- who died serving in with the Army in Iraq -- play in Michael Moore's new movie.

In an interview this week, Lipscomb said her son apologized for his feelings about Bush.

"I raised my children to respect the position of the president of the United States," Lipscombsaid. "But my son was angry. He had a right to be angry."

Lipscomb last saw Pedersen at Christmas 2002, when he was headed to Iraq.

"He shared with me that he was scared but that he knew he had to go because he had committed to doing a job and he was committed to his unit," Lipscomb said, wiping tears from her face. "We both discussed our feelings. We were against it.

"I just ache. I ache. I asked God, 'Why my son?' And he answered, 'Why not?' I just want to understand why he had to be there in the first place."

Flint woman stars in newest Michael Moore documentary

Flint woman stars in newest Michael Moore documentary: "FLINT, Mich. (AP) � Lila Lipscomb was not someone who would consider herself an anti-war protester.

But the Flint resident and her late son � who died serving with the U.S. Army in Iraq � are playing key roles in Michael Moore's new movie, 'Fahrenheit 9/11.'
The documentary is a scathing attack on President George W. Bush and the war against terrorism. It won the top prize last week at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival in France and, like Moore's other movies, has earned the praise and denunciation of critics.
Lipscomb, a 49-year-old office assistant, is on-screen for 20 minutes of the 110-minute film. In it, she tells of the death of her son, Sgt. Michael Pedersen, a 26-year-old crew chief who died in a Black Hawk crash in Iraq on April 2, 2003. She tells of her pain, how her views about the war came change and of her disdain for Bush."

Friday, May 28, 2004


New York Post Online Edition: business: "May 29, 2004 -- Disney and Miramax finally resolved their dispute over Michael Moore's award-winning, Bush-bashing documentary.
Disney agreed yesterday to sell the film rights to Bob and Harvey Weinstein, personally, for about $6 million, the amount Miramax had paid to finance it.
The transaction was done through a newly created company called The Fellowship Adventure Group.
The Weinsteins are co-chiefs of Miramax, which is not involved financially in the deal.
The ruckus over the film began when it became public that Disney refused to allow Miramax to distribute the film.
The stakes were raised when Moore's movie won the Palme d'Or, the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival, all but ensuring the film will become a box office success. "

Michael Moore Film Nears Release as Disney Sells

Entertainment News Article | "By Peter Henderson
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Michael Moore's controversial documentary 'Fahrenheit 9/11' moved a step closer to U.S. theaters on Friday as Miramax film studio founders Harvey and Bob Weinstein personally bought rights to the picture from Walt Disney Co. .
Miramax had funded the film but Disney, which owns the art-house studio, had declined to distribute the movie, saying the documentary and its criticism of President Bush's war on Iraq were too politically charged.
After more than three weeks of talks, the Weinsteins bought rights to the film for costs to date, estimated at about $6 million, and will arrange for theatrical and home video distribution, both sides said in a statement issued on Friday.
By clinching a deal now, the movie could still be on track to get into theaters by the middle of this summer, despite a crowded field of U.S. releases, distributors have said. "

City Pages: What Moore Cannes Go Wong?

City Pages: What Moore Cannes Go Wong?:

A Blog of Cannes By Rob Nelson

"Granted, the 'hard' evidence that Moore presents in Fahrenheit 9/11 isn't particularly hard and it's not at all new. (And he doesn't say a thing about Israel and Palestine--subjects of the next movie, we're told.) But what he does say--attributing it to Orwell's view of societal hierarchy as based on power's explicit support of poverty and ignorance--is plenty persuasive. And he's going to be saying it through a helluva loud bullhorn, whatever creative solution Disney forces Miramax to find in order to fulfill the terms of Moore's contract: to get the movie in U.S. theaters by the Fourth of July (and on DVD a month before November 2). As my Croatian-born Cannes hotelier concurred this morning (in the course of serving what he playfully termed my 'freedom breakfast'): That's pretty rad."

Bush stays course as his popularity dwindles : English: "Michael Moore, director of ``Fahrenheit 9/11,'' a stinging critique of the Bush administration that won the top prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival, accepted the Palme d'Or with a joke.
``What have you done?'' he said to Quentin Tarantino, president of the festival's jury. ``You just did this to mess with me, didn't you?''
On the same day, President George W. Bush fell from his mountain bike while riding it at his ranch in Texas.
Doctors had counseled cycling for the president as therapy for knee trouble that had resulted from too much jogging, according to an American newspaper. As shown by the paper's photograph, the abrasions he suffered looked painful. I felt sorry for him.
There was no cause-and-effect relationship between the award for Moore's movie and Bush's injury. But surely a set of causes has brought about serious consequences for the president.
In the latest CBS Television poll, only 34 percent of the respondents supported Bush's Iraq policy, while 61 percent said they did not support it. Asked if the United States was moving in the right direction, 65 percent replied in the negative-the highest since pollsters started asking the question in the 1980s."

Entertainment News Article |

Entertainment News Article | "By Gregg Kilday
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The media love a controversy. Hollywood, on the other hand, is a lot more ambivalent.
The past few weeks have witnessed a couple of classic 'controversies' as the talking heads -- or make that butting heads -- have had at it over the Walt Disney Co.'s refusal to allow Miramax Films to distribute 'Fahrenheit 9/11.' And they then moved on to debate whether 20th Century Fox's multimillion-dollar disaster pic 'The Day After Tomorrow' is actually an environmentalist Trojan horse.
In the first case, Disney demurred that it wanted to wash its hands of Michael Moore's documentary because the company didn't want to offend any of its wide-sprung patrons by dabbling in anything that smacks of politics. And for his part, Moore denied any suggestions that he and Harvey Weinstein had played any role in stirring up the brouhaha that served as a prelude to the film capturing the Palme d'Or at Cannes." - A Right-Wing non-Critique of Fahrenheit 911 - A Right-Wing non-Critique of Fahrenheit 911: "If Michael Moore is anything, he's highly political. Anyone who's ever been exposed to any of his work knows this. He freely admits it. There is no secret whatsoever that Moore is a bleeding-heart liberal. And that's okay. Believe it or not, people in this country have a right to be bleeding-heart liberal filmmakers. I know it's pretty astonishing that this kind of subversion isn't covered by the PATRIOT Act, but Moore really does have that right. I understand he's even permitted to criticize the government up to and including even the President!
So when I read Dan K Thomasson's whining screed about Fahrenheit 911 I almost had to laugh. The author seems to believe that liberalism and anti-Americanism are the same thing, that President Bush is above criticism, and most of all, that he's seen Fahrenheit 911. Now maybe Thomasson's been to Cannes and watched the film there, but I don't think so. Here's why:
Thomasson starts out with several accusations. He calls the film 'political propaganda.' He says it follows a 'rule' the movie industry lives by, 'Never let the facts get in the way of a good story even if it's billed as the truth.' In other words, he is accusing the film of telling a story that is not supported by facts. He includes an entire paragraph of further accusations:
Moore professes to tell us the real reason for the U.S. invasion of Iraq is a connection between Bush and the Saudi royal family. As with most conspiracy theorists, he makes far more than he can prove out of the most tenuous connections. And he bashes everything else Bush has done since taking office. Bush is the most public of figures and, therefore, is practically libel-proof. Moore can say what he wants about the president short of accusing him of capital murder, which one gets "

Reader Comments

Opinion: Editorial: Michael Moore's movie moment (

Opinion: Editorial: Michael Moore's movie moment ( "Now that Michael Moore's documentary 'Fahrenheit 9/11' has been awarded the Palme d'Or, the highest award of the Cannes film festival, the American film industry faces a critical test.
Controversial and of the moment, praised by most reviewers and now internationally acclaimed, 'Fahrenheit 9/11' surely meets the critical standard for wide distribution in the United States. In addition, Moore's track record of producing commercially successful films and television programs, as well as best-selling books such as 'Stupid White Men,' provides all the economic argument that ought to be needed for getting 'Fahrenheit 9/11' into the theaters.
Yet Moore has struggled with distribution issues. The Walt Disney Co., the mouse that does not have the courage to roar, refused to place the documentary in theaters because doing so might offend the Bush administration. Other major media corporations have apparently felt similarly intimidated, so questions remain about how thorough the distribution of 'Fahrenheit 9/11' will be.
That the administration does not want this film to be seen by the American people is now blatantly obvious. There is talk that Republican operatives may file a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, apparently on the theory that artistic expression and free speech ought to be limited in election years. "

Thursday, May 27, 2004 Michael Moore's brashness seen as box office draw Michael Moore's brashness seen as box office draw: "By Peter Henderson

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Even in Hollywood, some people find filmmaker Michael Moore obnoxious, opinionated, grating and often less than accurate -- but they say these are qualities that will pay off big when 'Fahrenheit 9/11,' his new film bashing President Bush, is released. "

One distribution company executive predicted the opinionated Moore would deliver a broad audience with the film's mix of entertainment and enlightenment.

"It makes people react. It gets them to show up," the executive said. "You just can't sell that many tickets with Barbra Streisand and her crowd in Malibu."

But another industry executive, who conservatively predicted the new movie could set a new box office record for a documentary, said it would just preach to its choir and a little bit beyond.

The second executive saw "Fahrenheit" selling at least $30 million to $40 million in tickets in North America, compared with $21.6 million for "Columbine," and playing in as many as 1,000 theaters. That would be a third the level of a Hollywood hit, which would be enormously successful for a documentary.

Filmmaker Moore Says He Has Berg Footage North County Times - North San Diego and Southwest Riverside County News

Filmmaker Moore Says He Has Berg Footage North County Times - North San Diego and Southwest Riverside County News: "NEW YORK - Filmmaker Michael Moore, whose incendiary new documentary lambastes President Bush's handling of the war, said Thursday that he has footage unused in the film of Nicholas Berg, the American civilian later beheaded in Iraq.

The footage, of an interview with Berg, 'is approximately 20 minutes long. We are not releasing it to the media,' Moore said in a statement. 'It is not in the film. We are dealing privately with the family.'
Neither Moore nor his representatives would describe the nature or contents of the interview with Berg, who held staunch pro-war views." Cannes Oohs Over Moore's Bush-Whacking Doc Cannes Oohs Over Moore's Bush-Whacking Doc: "The Disney corporation might be caught up in (and losing out on) the controversy over its adamant decision to forbid subsidiary Miramax from distributing Fahrenheit 9/11. But that didn't keep the Dubya-bashing film's director, Michael Moore, from walking away with the Palme d'Or, the Cannes Film Festival's top prize, when the event wrapped on May 23. And it certainly won't keep him from thumbing his big fat Flint, Michigan, nose at the increasingly flailing U.S. president, whose family he depicts as being symbiotically connected to that of a certain Osama bin Laden.
The film was the first documentary to be so honoured at the French fest, and Cannes jury president Quentin Tarantino was subsequently forced to defend his group's decision to fete the hot-potato flick for 'its merits as a motion picture', as he said in an open press conference the next day.
Todd McCarthy, chief critic for the industry mag Variety, posted one of the few non-rave reviews of the film, which details the odd business and personal relationships between the Bushes and the bin Ladens, among other prominent Saudi families. He didn't quibble too much with the jury's choice, however, when reached by the Straight at his home in Los Angeles. "