Saturday, November 29, 2008

Way to Go, Kevin!

In today's Flint Journal: Filmmaker Kevin Leffler takes on Michael Moore, Moore-style

I've pasted the story here, in case the link disappears.

Filmmaker Kevin Leffler takes on Michael Moore, Moore-style
by Carol Azizian | The Flint Journal Saturday November 29, 2008, 12:20 AM

From "Shooting Michael Moore"
In his documentary, "Shooting Michael Moore," Davison native Kevin Leffler uses the same tactics against Michael Moore that made him famous. The movie is being shown in commercial theaters for the first time.

Kevin Leffler turned the cameras on Michael Moore -- and now he's getting a wider audience to show the results.

In his documentary, "Shooting Michael Moore," Leffler adopts the famous filmmaker's guerilla interview tactics to harp on what he sees as inconsistencies and hypocrisies in Moore's popular and high-grossing movies.

Leffler, a Davison native who attended high school with Moore, said he wants the public to "see the other side of Michael Moore and make their own decisions."

The movie premiered a year ago at the Flint Film Festival and is being shown for the first time in commercial theaters -- from Dec. 5-11 at AMC Great Lakes 25 in Auburn Hills, AMC Forum 30 in Sterling Heights and AMC Laurel Park 10 in Livonia.

Leffler says he is not a right-wing critic or even an indie filmmaker. He's an accountant and Baker College professor who taught himself how to use a film camera and spent $250,000 of his own money to make the film.

When "Shooting Michael Moore" first premiered at the Flint Film Festival in 2007 -- it won an audience choice award -- Leffler said he was a registered Democrat with no political ax to grind.

His motivation was simple. He wanted people to see the Michael Moore he knew.

"Mike is out for Mike. I don't have a problem with him making money, but don't tell me you're fighting for the underclass and people without a voice," Leffler said.

Moore could not be reached for comment, but Leffler's film is not the first to criticize the filmmaker. Another one titled "Manufactured Dissent," was released in 2007 by Canadian filmmakers.

At the time, Moore told The Journal: "There have been about 10 films made against me. I haven't seen any of them. ... I get so used to listening to the stuff people say about me, it becomes entertainment ... like a fictional character has been created named Michael Moore."

Throughout his documentary, Leffler poses as a "Mini Mike," wearing a baseball cap -- Moore's signature garb -- while he interviews subjects and even a cameraman from the Oscar winner's films, reads contradictory quotes from his books and takes a critical view of Moore's movies.

Leffler sometimes interviews people Moore himself previously interviewed and who claim their comments were taken out of context.

In the film, Leffler tries to contact Moore to get some answers.

When phone calls and letters fail, he trespasses onto his picturesque northern Michigan property -- where arrives by boat -- and plants a life-size cardboard figure of President George W. Bush.

He eventually catches up with Moore at the Traverse City Film Festival, where he introduces the famous filmmaker to the parents of the late Sgt. Raymond Plouhar who was killed in Iraq. They tell Moore that his cameramen didn't divulge the real nature of "Fahrenheit 9/11" when they took footage of Plouhar recruiting potential soldiers in Flint.

Leffler also says Moore's stance against corporate America conflicts with his financial practices. Leffler shows a tax return from a nonprofit established by Moore that invests in major corporations such as Exxon Mobil, Halliburton (from which Vice President Dick Cheney retired) and major drug companies.

Leffler also flew to Cuba to dispute Moore's somewhat rosy view of the country's universal health care in "Sicko."

He said he plans to take the film to some of the same film festivals where Moore's films were a big hit. And he's looking for a distributor.

Is Leffler concerned about Moore taking legal action against him?

"I'm willing to accept that risk," Leffler said.

I'm so glad Kevin did this so people outside of Davison can see what Michael Moore is really like. I can hardly wait to see this movie!

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