Michael Moore has made quite the career for himself as one of the most recognizable and unapologetic documentarians of the last two decades. His films range from his 1989 debut Roger & Me, the Academy Award-winning Bowling for Columbine, and Fahrenheit 9/11, which still holds the record for all-time top grossing documentary in the box office. Though he has been relatively quiet since his last feature, 2009’s Capitalism: A Love Story, Moore has been an active commentator on the state of both politics and cinema. He also renovated and became the director of a movie theater in his home state of Michigan.
He recently gave a keynote speech at the Doc Conference, part of the Toronto International Film Festival, wherein he characteristically outlined the ways to not make bad documentaries. This included everything from realizing that the crew is just as much the audience as the people eventually filling theaters, and even laying out that “the left is boring”, meaning his own thematic tendencies require a lot of creativity to get through to opposing minds.
Rule #10, according to Moore: “As much as possible, try to film only the people who disagree with you.”
Speaking of fresh, new documentaries, we would like to remind you that the call is out for Fusion Doc Challenge. The challenge is a timed filmmaking competition sponsored by Fusion where filmmakers from around the world sign up to make a short documentary in five days that is 4-7 minutes in length. In addition to being restricted on time, filmmakers choose between 2 assigned documentary genres (such as Adventure, LGBTQ, Music, Art, etc.) and a specific theme (such as “Behind the Curtain”) that dictates the content and direction of their film. The Fusion Doc Challenge is very similar to International Doc Challenge, but filmmaking teams get to choose the five days they would like to make their film between now and November 5, 2014. After November 10, the top 12 films are determined by an esteemed panel of judges and premiere at the Fusion Doc Challenge Screening at Slamdance in January 2015. Fusion Doc Challenge will host an opening weekend party at Slamdance and the films will screen at Big Sky Doc Film Festival in February. In addition to the top 12 films, an additional 8 films are chosen for an exclusive 18-month distribution deal with Fusion. The films also compete at TheAudienceAwards.com to an online international audience.