Big night for Michael Moore last night: “Where to Invade Next” got its first real airing for top filmmakers at a private screening and a cool dinner at Shun Lee West. Among the guests: DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, Barbara Kopple, and Laura Poitras, last year’s Oscar winner for “CitizenFour.”
Craig Unger, author of “House of Bush,” the book that inspired Moore’s “Fahrenheit 911,” and legendary journalist Gay Talese with publishing star wife Nan Talese were also in attendance, as well as award winning filmmakers like Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon.
There was a lot of talk about the film company releasing “Where to Invade Next” on December 23rd. They have no name. Tom Quinn and Jason Janego were the guys behind Radius, an off shoot of The Weinstein Company. They had a bunch of hits and an Oscar for “20 Feet to Stardom.” Now they’re being bankrolled by Alamo Drafthouse’s Tim League, and starting a new company. “Invade” is their first release. But they still haven’t clear a name or logo.They assured me they will by the time Moore’s film is released.
And what of Moore? Everyone at the dinner had ideas for his next film. I told him I thought a “Bowling for Columbine” sequel was needed as the mass shootings in the US have become an international disgrace. “That film is more relevant today than ever,” he said in agreement.
While we talked, reps for The Criterion Collection approached Moore and talked to him about exactly that film. “We just made a deal,” Moore said, with a broad smile. So “Bowling for Columbine” will get a new life after all. And not a moment too soon.
As for “Where to Invade Next”– Moore in his most hopeful film yet traveled to dozens of countries in just four months and made the movie instantly. It was totally stealth. “We kept thinking we’d be found out,” he told me, “but we got away with it. It was the best experience of filmmaking I’ve ever had.”
Moore importantly: Michael owns two movie theaters in rural Michigan. This past weekend, he tells me, “Steve Jobs” sold out. The movie didn’t do so well across the country. Why was it a hit there? “I charge $8.50 and $6.50, and we hand sell each ticket.” Does Universal know he’s their success story? “Oh yeah,” he replied.