Monday, September 21, 2009
Filmmaker Michael Moore last Thursday night in San
Francisco during a Q&A following a screening of his new film "Capitalism: A
(Photo by Omar P.L. Moore/PopcornReel.com)
ASKED AND ANSWERED
Michael Moore On "Capitalism",
Copyright, Racism And The President
Omar P.L. Moore/PopcornReel.com
Monday, September 21, 2009
Before talk about his latest film "Capitalism: A Love Story" had even begun
here last Thursday night Michael Moore mentioned some of America's public
figures and mainstream media publications that initially supported the war in
Iraq. Keith Olbermann. The editor of the New Yorker. The New
York Times. Bob and Harvey Weinstein, executive producers on Mr. Moore's
last three films.
"I felt alone then," confessed Mr. Moore to a packed movie theater audience at
the Clay Theater following the screening of "Capitalism", which opens here on
October 2. The Flint, Michigan filmmaker was one of the few prominent
celebrities who spoke out when the U.S.-led Iraq war was in its nascent stages. "It's
different now because there's a whole new majority and a lot of people have
changed their minds about the old ways. Obviously -- they elected an
African-American president. So anytime a country that's still full of an
incredible amount of racism can somehow push through that sewer and elect an
African-American as president, I just like -- at that point I think that
anything is possible."
The audience laughs somewhat nervously at this point.
"You know, the last eight years were pretty miserable. Not just
for the planet but for me personally."
The audience laughs again and this time there's very little tension in the
"For Fox News -- Bill O'Reilly -- I became public enemy number one. And
all that went along with that -- much of which I won't discuss publicly.
But suffice it to say, we made it through. Ding dong, the witch is dead. "
Mr. Moore admitted that part of him regretted giving the famous speech at the Oscars
(for his winning documentary "Bowling For Columbine") condemning the Iraq war as it entered its fifth day in March 2003.
Then-U.S. president George W. Bush was the target of scrutiny in Mr. Moore's
award-winning record-breaking film "Fahrenheit 9/11" the following
year. (For the record Mr.
Bush has appeared in five consecutive Moore documentaries including
The Oscar-winning director said that in 2004 a ringtone company offered him a
six-figure payday if he "had licensed me at the Oscars when a cell phone rings
to say, 'shame on you Mr. Bush!'"
He turned the money down.
It's worth noting at this point that anyone who knows Mr. Moore reasonably well
knows he doesn't believe in copyright laws. Moreover, he actively
encourages bootlegged copies of his films to be freely distributed and copied
as many times as one chooses -- a rare allowance by a filmmaker. The Motion Picture Association Of America
won't be pleased with Mr. Moore's advocating bootlegging of his films and on this Thursday
night (September 17) -- which happens to the 20th anniversary of the world
premiere of "Roger & Me" -- Mr. Moore isn't pleased with the MPAA.
"I've just been given an R-rating by the MPAA. 'Fuck' is said three times
although according to the rules none of the fucks are sexual in nature.
None of them are used in violence. And none of them are used in the
second-person command," said Mr. Moore, whose "Fahrenheit 9/11" is the
highest-grossing documentary ever. "So I've been fighting it out, you
know, and using the word 'fuck' more than I ever have, with the MPAA."
Michael Moore last Tuesday in Beverly Hills at the L.A. red
carpet premiere of his latest film.
(Photo: Omar P.L. Moore/PopcornReel.com)
"Capitalism: A Love Story", which opens on Wednesday exclusively in New York
City and Los Angeles, is one of the most emotionally powerful films of 2009.
It chronicles the Wall Street crash of September 2008 and the role banks, Wall
Street insiders and U.S. politicians played in it. Describing the
experience on "Capitalism" Mr. Moore stated that "I -- in this film more than
ever before -- have had people who don't necessarily share my politics ask me
for help, ask me to tell their story. And it was one of the best parts of
making this film. It was cathartic on some level. It was redemptive
on another level." Mr. Moore added that Overture Films, which distributes
"Capitalism" in North America in association with Paramount Vantage, had done
testing for the film which showed that "Capitalism: A Love Story" has been
recommended by those who say they are Republicans more often than they had
recommended any previous Moore film.
"The shit has already started to come at me", Mr. Moore said of "Capitalism: A
Love Story", which will be screened for free in America's economically
hardest-hit cities and towns on October 1. He mentioned that at least one
website has already been set up to discredit "Capitalism" and spoke of
critics and other journalists who will likely be given talking points that aim
at subverting Mr. Moore's film.
"Capitalism: A Love Story" calls out U.S. politicians in the Democratic Party
for their wrongdoings in last year's financial market and mortgage collapse more
than it does Republicans' bad deeds.
"I guess I'm counting on you and people of your generation to hold this
president's feet -- and especially the Democrats in Congress -- their feet to
the fire here or we're not gonna get anything we need in the next four years,"
Mr. Moore said of the audience regarding Mr. Obama, of whom the filmmaker said
wouldn't have made it to the White House without the youth vote. "Young
people ignited his whole campaign, made the Iowa victory happen. And the
other [candidates] never knew what hit them."
While Michael Moore cautioned the audience to stay focused and resolute on
bringing about change to the United States, he spoke of the historic day --
November 4, 2008 -- when the realization of a significant moment had hit him.
Mr. Moore was with his wife Kathleen Glynn, a producer on all of his films.
"I was at the polling place . . . I closed the curtain. I looked down -- I
saw [Barack Obama] on the ballot and I literally started to cry. I
couldn't believe I was seeing this man's name on the ballot." Mr. Moore said
that his tears smudged his black marker vote on the ballot.
"'Pull yourself together, man!'", he recalled Ms. Glynn saying to him as he
emerged from the voting booth in Michigan. He had described himself as
being "overjoyed" at then-Senator Obama's presidential election triumph that
Of now-President Obama Mr. Moore said: "I know his heart is in the right
place. I know he comes from the right place. And I know he's going
to do the right thing. And that's the way I'm gonna go on this one right
A few moments later he added: "But in four more months if he's still sending
troops to Afghanistan, we all have to agree that's no longer Bush's war --
that's Obama's war." The audience applauded.
Michael Moore outside the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street
during the filming
of "Capitalism: A Love Story".
"We expect him to do the right thing. We expect him to be beholden
to us and not to Wall Street, not to Goldman Sachs," commented Mr. Moore about
During "Capitalism: A Love Story" Mr. Moore narrates that the current
commander-in-chief received about one million dollars in campaign contributions
from Goldman, the investment banking company -- the largest single private donor
to Mr. Obama's 2008 presidential candidacy. (Mr. Moore said that in a few
weeks' time he hopes to get a private meeting at the White House with President
Obama for about ten to fifteen minutes to lend support to him regarding
healthcare reform. Mr. Moore directed the film
"SiCKO", which chronicled the plight of the American healthcare
industry. The film was released in 2007.)
"Again, I'm giving the guy a break. He inherited a catastrophe. And
frankly, I never liked the idea of why the black guy has to come in and clean up
a bunch of white people's mess."
Mr. Moore hailed former U.S. president Jimmy Carter as "a brave man" for
speaking earlier in the week about racism directed at President Obama by many
white protesters being a major factor in some of the most vociferous criticism
of President Obama's healthcare plan.
"He nailed it. It's exactly what all this is about."
"The guy's been there (in office) for like, seven months and -- 'oh, the
children can't watch him!' I think it's that some white people have a
problem with a black guy being in charge -- and that's what it is. It
should be named, it should be called for what it is." He later said that
President Obama shouldn't be the position of addressing the issues of racism in some
of the boisterous protesting that has occurred in parts of the United States
over the last two months.
"I'd rather white people call it out for what it is so that is not an added
burden on you as an African-American to have to name this thing, this disease
that we still deal with in this country," Mr. Moore said to a black man
from Washington, D.C. who had asked him a question.
The Cannes Palm D'Or winner also spoke about the mortgage crisis that has been
so pervasive across the nation. "You've got right now one out of every
eight mortgages -- eight homes in this country -- one out of every eight is either
in delinquency or foreclosure tonight. That's an amazing number.
So that means it's cut across everybody," said Mr. Moore of the vast number of
Americans affected -- Democrats, Republicans and other politically-affiliated
"If anything," Mr. Moore continued, "the assault from the banks and from Wall
Street has started to bring people together. My hope is, my hope in making
this film is that their anger is directed in a good and positive way to take
control of this country. As you know, historically when the have-nots are
manipulated with fear and blaming the other [there] could be a very easy turn to
fascism. Just as easily it can go hopefully the other way. So I'm
pulling for these good Republican people to come over here on this side of the
"Capitalism: A Love Story" opens in New York City and Los Angeles on
Wednesday. The film opens everywhere else on October 2.
Michael Moore last week during the L.A. premiere of "Capitalism: A Love
One piece of advice that the filmmaker dispensed to a San Francisco audience
about making films: "The political message will come through a lot stronger
if you first make a really good movie." (Photo: Omar P.L. Moore)
Related: Photo gallery of "Capitalism: A Love Story" red carpet
premiere in Beverly Hills (9/15/09)
Related: "Capitalism: A Love Story" Trailer
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