Audioburst Search

90: Michael Moore, Julie Cohen, Annie Sundberg & Stephen Maing on Getting Political


Welcome to pure nonfiction podcast, interviewing documentary filmmakers. I'm Tom powers. The documentary programmer for the Toronto international film festival and artistic director of doc in. Z? On this episode. We bring you a discussion from doc, and why called getting political I talked to four directors whose latest films intersect with politics. First panelist will hear his Michael Moore? Whatever is it's been the artists who've been able to be the ones to save. I sometimes this is fucked up his new film Fahrenheit eleven nine refers to the date of November ninth twenty sixteen when Donald Trump won the presidency in the wee hours of the morning Fahrenheit eleven nine is a scorching political essay laced with Moore's trademark humor it seeks to examine how Trump came to power and the groundswell efforts to curb his power. Our second panelist is Julie Cohen half of the directing team behind this year's box office hit our BG about supreme court Justice. Ruth, Bader Ginsburg cinema's about making people feel something. And if you can take an issue that's important for people to learn about and make them feel something if you care more about gender equality because you feel something seeing cute little Ruth Bader Ginsburg planking for a couple minutes that like Amen, Julie. And her directing partner Betsy west were previously interviewed on pure nonfiction episode seventy six the third speaker is any Sundberg who directs in partnership with Ricki stern their new film on net. Flicks is called reversing Roe it traces the history of reproductive rights secured the nineteen seventy three supreme court decision of Roe v. Wade the film looks at contemporary forces to undermine those rights. There's a statistic in our film between one and four and one and three women have had an abortion in America. And I cannot tell you how many emails I've had from people on the life side who say that we are promoting. Falsehoods? And it's an interesting culture of misinformation our final panelist is Stephen maing. His new film is called crime and punishment. Now playing on Hulu he spent three years filming undercover with whistle blowers in the New York police department this opportunity to just deep dive follow them around and then slowly introduced to more cops because they trusted us at this point just snowballed the officers in crime and punishment are known as the NYPD twelve. They spoke out against the practice of stop and frisk arrests quotas that dramatically impact black and Hispanic communities. The NYPD claims it abolished quotas, but Stevens documentary present strong evidence that the system still exists. Our conversation took place on November ninth twenty eighteen marking the two year anniversary. Of Trump's election just three days earlier, the US midterm election took place changing congress to be a democratic majority while keeping the Senate as a Republican majority that week. Also brought reports that Ruth Bader Ginsburg was injured in a fall cracking three ribs. I started the conversation by asking Michael Moore for his impression of the election results as first Tuesday, I. Well, we're making this phone says everything we hope that would have happened happened. Not. Well, everything would have been, you know, more than one down two to go. It'd be like three down but living in the real world. This was a quite an accomplishment because we're so used to the Democrats blowing it and. So to have day really have so many New Democrats young women people, call our progressive Democrats winning all over the country. That's what really happened different people got on the ballot in the same old party acts, and and so we're gonna very different congress. We're gonna have different state legislatures different governors, the three states that gave you Donald Trump Michigan or from an air from. Pennsylvania. And Wisconsin all went blue on Tuesday. Blue governor, blue senators, blue Michigan all women running the state at the all the top four leadership positions in the state of Michigan are all women. And so this can only be a good thing. And and and we flip to districts with women to congress in Michigan. So so this is I feel much better today than I did do years ago on this day, and maybe I was a little bit better prepared for two years ago because I've been trying to tell people for five months that Trump was gonna win. And I couldn't get anybody to listen to me. So this time, I don't think anybody was throwing the party too early and everybody did their work and did hard work right up until the end in terms of knocking on doors being call. So I'm happy I'm hopeful optimistic, and as it relates to my film. I hope that that the. The million or so people who've seen it since September open have some little impact on it. And it certainly gave me a platform to again be on TV a lot on everything from comedy shows to entertainment to cable news, and it got to get the word out there a lot over the last few weeks. And so I'm grateful for that. I'm grateful for the people who've seen it. It's a bitter fucking pill to swallow this film. It's a people come out of it. And they go tell people I had a pit in my stomach for two hours. I cried on and off for two hours. I wanna go home and throw up so as you can see it's a big word of mouth movie, but really selling it. It really sells it. Whereas like, well, well, at least one of the film's here feel hopeful because I actually went home after Rb G, and and try to do some push-ups not more any. Because it was so I felt shame watching watching her do that. And and thinking, wow, we all have got to take care of ourselves. We've got a live long because we've got to see the better world that we when we were younger all started out to bake it a better place, so all of us say alive for longer than Rothe in. I've already offered to donate one of my ribs. So well, let me move to Julie Cohn. One half of the directing team of our BG with her colleague Betsy west, Julie all of us are following closely. The news about Ruth Bader Ginsburg who had a fall and reportedly cracked three ribs. Can you give us any insight from absolutely I'm moving from my filmmaker mode to the legal mode. We were making this film to like today. I'm doc the medical expert. Yes, I you ask for our mood. My mood is cautiously optimistic both about following Tuesday's election and also yes. Ruth baiter Ginsberg's released from the hospital this morning, our personal report from the family even last night when she was still in the hospital was that she was feeling good and having gourmet food brought in for her. So, you know, this is not actually mean she's made it through colon cancer and pancreatic cancer. And actually, it's not the first time that she's broken ribs. So from having spent a good period of time with her and the making of Rb g like do never count out Ruth, Bader Ginsburg, like a few cracked ribs are like, you know, that's that's small potatoes for her. That said, obviously, we wandered get. Well, and we wanted to get back in there with Bryant doubts on her personal trainer. Julie watching the events of this week election. I wonder what made you think in relation the ideas in your film. We felt I think pretty exuberant watching something that was talked about less on Tuesday night, and a sort of, you know, come more into the consciousness about like all that flipping like so many women, and it feels like people stepping up to run for offices where maybe the party institutions haven't always welcomed them with open arms. Those women are walking through a door that Ruth Bader Ginsburg helped open for them. And so it just felt exciting to see people who maybe institutions don't always have the full confidence in them like, well, I'm not really sure you can do this. Are you ready is it like time? Sometimes you've gotta step forward before your time. Rb g certainly did that. Going back all the way to the fifty sixty seventies. And seeing a younger generation of women. Do it today and often succeeding with it? Feels pretty good. Anne sundberg. You also have a longtime directing partner in Ricki stern together, you made this film reversing Roe. That's now on Netflix tracking the history of Roe v. Wade and and the contemporary efforts to strip back those rights in some ways, your film reflects an issue that more than any of the others of we're talking about this panel field directly affected by by elections. What are your reflections on the elections? Just I echo everything that we're hearing here is it was really exciting to see the numbers of women. The new diversity that we're seeing on the state level in the house that I do think we'll help change things. I hope desperately it will change districting on a state level, which I think will impact a lot of the issues regarding reproductive rights that we looked at Rick, and I started this film the morning after election day twenty sixteen we had been looking at another. Very closely. And I think everyone thought things we're gonna go different way and we woke up, and we said we gotta do this phone now. And we were looking originally how abortions been uses ineffective political tool because I don't think at least when I went to the women's March twenty seventeen when we're just getting our feet ready into this film. There were two things that struck me one was women under certain age in particular had no idea the lack of reproductive access was a hypothetical for them. And so they were much more willing to contemplate certain restrictions on care and certain laws that seemed tolerable, but not understand full picture. And also not understanding how it was used politically up until the election. But Trump where he was very blatant about his presidential goals. I think on one level the midterms interesting because it's check in power. We hope we'll see what happens now with the Mueller investigation. But I also think that some of the damage this election was great on many levels. It's not so great for reproductive care. Because Trump already has done a lot too. Put conservative justices in the lower courts that things are ready advancing that would never have advanced previously. And so I'm less optimistic in terms of reproductive access. I still think that that's a train that's going to continue down path until. Potentially the administration. I think the best failsafe now is the fact that we have new state legislatures to potentially catch things at the state level. Stephen Mayne who directed crime and punishment, which is a film about the New York police department and a quota system that that whistle blowers inside that police department are bringing to light around arrest quotas in minority communities now that's an issue that maybe we don't draw quite as straight line two in national elections. But but talk to me about what your reflections are around this issue and the elections. That was intentional actually. And we could talk about a little bit more to not draw that connection because something you find that law enforcement is that that the kind of polarization, you see amongst officers really directly mirrors, the electorate nationally, except for the addition of the blue wall of silence, which I think is exacerbated by this issue of race and class, which we are in a moment that is being very much alarmingly used to sort of push back the conversation decades at a time. And so I think while it's really inspiring to see this flipping congress as a new parent of an eleven month old back here of mixed race. I'm really excited to raise her. But also really worried I feel like. The conversations that are happening really trickle into the law enforcement space in a way that has a chilling effect. And I think, you know, everything comes down to race and class in where in a moment when that is being used as a cuddle to to really actually push back conversations happening law enforcement as well Trump actually has supported stop and frisk blindly. He's an individual who knows nothing about policing law enforcement. And just knows that this is a, you know, a nice little dog whistle to throw out. And so that's planned. It is and totally alarming. And so I think that. We have to really kinda track the conversation nationally as well. And. When we talk about films and politics, the big question that gets raises what you know, what do films do in the world, how do films effect politics, should they affect politics. And I'd like to hear from you your thoughts on that. I mean, Julie let me start with you are has been one of the great box office successes of this year, something that maybe everyone saw coming, but you've had this opportunity over the last several months to be traveling to country and outside the country and hearing audiences sponde- to it. What do you think the effect of your film has been? Yeah. Well, the great thing about documentaries on especially on substantive issues is like things that people kind of should be educated on like constitutional law and gender equality. Like two words that don't appear anywhere. In any blurb or promotional material for our film? You know, movies ultimately have to work as movies. They have to like, intellectual great. But they've gotta hit like your heart, and your gut, and I know we felt that we felt that from audiences responding to Rb G as a person her personal story that humor a love story. That's in there. But like I felt it seeing all of my colleagues movies, Stephen has a protagonist in his movie, the lead young cop who whistle blower who like I wouldn't necessarily wanna see a movie about, you know, oh quotas in the police department. But like, it's the character this guy who's, you know, so amazing that you're like I'm rooting for this guy, whatever he's about. And then that was my way into this persuasive movie like in Anne's movie, you you'll see like Gloria Steinem, you know, talking about like, you think of abortion is such a Downer. But there's actually an empowering abortion. Story. There's a moment. I mean, you I don't know if you've seen your film in regular theaters as much as just festivals or there's a moment in Fahrenheit eleven nine. That's like the most diabolically brilliantly edited ski combination of footage of Donald and avant Trump which ends with Michael's voiceover saying. Like is this making you feel uncomfortable and the entire audience even like at a multiplex simultaneously me to says. Yes, like, that's what movie can do. It can make you feel something in a way that you know, it's harder for an essay. Or a a lot of certainly a new segment to do like cinema's about making people feel something. And if you can take an issue that's important for people to learn about and make them feel something if you care more about gender equality because you feel something seeing little Ruth Bader Ginsburg planking for a couple minutes that like, Amen. Michael you've been at this for a while. And I wonder what you think the purpose of your films are. Well, actually, the first purpose is alluding to what she said that people were hard all week, and they get to go to the movies on Friday or Saturday night as a filmmaker. I mostly want them to feel when they leave after two hours that they say to each other while. That was a great two hours. Whatever you got out of it. What you learn something. Whether it was a good laugh, whether it made you cry whether you had the pit in your stomach and throw up when you got home. But I I I think probably what most filmmakers want that that that we've made a great film, and I've I've always encouraged younger filmmakers who want to make political films. To never put the politics. I put the art. I make a great movie make a great movie, and whatever your politics are whatever your messages, it's going to carry to so many more people if you put it in the vehicle of great art, if you're just focused on making sure you get exactly the politics away. They should be in mixture. They learn this. And then all of a sudden the film starts like a wagging finger or Castrol oil, and nobody wants that in a movie theater, you go to the movies. It's okay. If you feel that way, but run for office or hold a rally or start a political organization. Why are you making a movie you're asking people to come in here with popcorn Googlers? And this the last form of populist entertainment where you can literally afford you cannot afford to go to Madison Square Garden to see a concert. You cannot afford to go to massacre guard and see the New York Knicks. You could not afford just go down the list of get out of the how you got him into Ford dinner for two with a little L. Call. It's less than this, Phil. And this is the last place where most people, regardless of their socioeconomic status can get out of the house for a little bit with each other and experience something that's not of their world. And we cannot let that die. It's and I'm a huge believer. Netflix and Hulu, and and the Handmaid's tale and everything but. Because I I'm I personally promote the Handmaid's tale wherever I go. I don't get paid for it. I just think it's a documentary of the near future. So please watch this TV series. But no. But I just I just think that that art you ask this question of where does art and politics where that convergences, I think throughout history. It's the artists who've been in the frontlines whether they are writers, whether they're filmmakers, whether they're musicians, whether they're painters, whether the whatever it is it's been the artists who've been able to be the ones to say, I sometimes this is fucked up, and my art is going to boldly get me in trouble by saying this Stephen talking about your film crime and punishment. You spent several years following these whistle blower cops. Film is now on Hulu, it's reaching an audience. So what does that been like for them and for around this issue and just raising more awareness? What have you seen from audiences encountering this film? I really agree with Michael and everyone everyone's really saying that, you know, you need human stories to unlock complacency people don't respond to data. They don't respond to really dry journalism. They respond to storytelling, and I think that's kind of our task. Right. And that is a lot of ways. I I feel really heartened that there's a great purpose to being a documentary filmmaker there. It's only, you know, sometimes sustainable, but. It definitely feels more necessary. Bringing the film out to Sundance. We. Had twenty subjects cops and families attorneys, and they were flabbergasted, and I was kind of that was the most probably moving moment of my life watching. You know, people in for jackets just kind of like respond to a stage full of of New York City cops who were completely shell shocked to be dropped in airdropped into this culture. And for Hulu to come around and say, hey, we're gonna show this to tens of millions of people across the country. It's inspiring. And it's. Hopefully, this moment that this conversation that has actually been unfolding for many many years some of the cops in PD twelve. Have been doing this for almost a decade trying to get the attention of the public national public. Let alone local New York City public. And and there has never been able to be a sustained conversation about police reform because for some reason, maybe it's like sort of the ongoing demise of civil society intersectional across everything we know and hold dear perhaps that distracts us. But whatever the reason we have to have an ongoing conversation because. When the government when our elected officials or pointed commissioners are breaking the law. They have to be held accountable, and why PD has been breaking law, and some people feel afraid to say that for good reason, you know, nobody wants to lose their job when career the salaries are on the line families need to be fed. But. It's been an incredible honor to kind of go out on the road with the film with all the cops who. Feel really impounded by all of you. But when all of you stop talking about it, and sort of look at this just look at all of what we're doing is, just entertainment. And then we move onto the next kind of like juicy documentary story. That's when these guys lose hope and the blue wall of silence kind of just. Straight back up, and we actually, you know, go backwards in progress. So that's what I'm trying to understand. How do we keep all of these sustainable conversations? Not just sort of like the issue is your because it's hot on the festival run or some shit like that. Any with reversing road. That's on Netflix. There is the power of that distribution platform to reach millions and millions of people. Went out into the world in September. So it hasn't been that long that it has been out in the world. But what are you hearing back from the film being out in the world? We're hearing first of all social media is kind of crazy, and I'm sure all of us have experienced that. Now, the direct communications they get from people who've seen the film people who are supporting it. And if you tag yourself and track thing, all of a sudden, you see the currents of how people are trying to talk about it. When I think is really interesting is that we very open in our film. We have conversations with people who are anti-choice pro-life, we allow them to self identifies pro-life in the film, and it's just want to quickly speak to this idea of how this current what you hear come back because I think what we've all tried to do. And I feel like you did exceptionally. Well, it's just this idea. Stephen of like, you get inside a world that is not particularly trusting both of media of that experience. You're very bold Michael about approaching people straight on and putting media right in front of them, and whether or not they engage, and then you got the coup of having a private interview in the Scottish chambers with, but it's like you're taking people into these very private personal worlds. And I think once you. As a filmmaker earned the trust and having that dialogue. It's an interesting dynamic. Because now what we're hearing back is we didn't we let everybody know prior to the film's premiere telluride who was a participant. This is where the film will premiere. We did not. We didn't we didn't have a private screening people prior to tell you, right. And it was interesting. We got lots of letters of support from the pro-life people saying, let us know how we can help with the release of your film. And what was interesting in the follow up. Was that operation rescue is promoting the film on Facebook. And so I'm seeing more people sort of responding to it in that way, which I thought was Fendt fascinating in Texas right to life. John -sego was pushing it through Twitter and other ways that way what we are. Also, seeing is a certain sense of. I mean that lex is an interesting platform to work with they've been unbelievably supportive, and they have a great if anyone working with them, it makes it really easy for educational stuff to happen now. So people are just like a splash page and people can connect with film like that and doing vent. So we're getting lots of direct queries. What I think is fascinating too, though is there's a statistic in our film topic between one and four and one in three women have had an abortion in America. And I cannot tell you how many emails I've had from people on the pro-life side who say that we are promoting. Falsehoods? And it's an interesting culture of misinformation. So again, it's like in terms of how the film is reverberating what the reaction to it is. We're seeing a lot of engagement. But we're also seeing a lot of people continue to push back on what we're presenting as truth in our film. So I don't know if that helps answer the question, but it's an interesting dialogue as filmmaker. And I also think that too. To this conversation about when you are allowed in some to community and seeing how people both respond to that community. Those conversations are interesting to see how people become vilified demonized or celebrated Michael in Fahrenheit eleven nine. You were following some of the insurgent candidates some of them, you revolving long before the rest of the world had heard of them, my right that your cameras were tracking Alexandria Cossio Cortes before she won the election. Yes, we started filming her a few months before the election. And when she was polling about three percent, and nobody newer her name or whatever. So you don't know what's going to happen when you do that. And Russia in Detroit. Also, we were filming her. In advance. And they both one Richard Jetta in West Virginia, sadly lost. But had the had the biggest flip of turnaround in terms of any democrat that was on the ballot on Tuesday, even though he lost. He'd really turned that district being very close to being democratic and West Virginia. So the pleasure to host the world premiere at the Toronto film festival and one of the people that you brought was a woman from Flint Michigan who if anyone who's seen the film will remember her as as someone during the water crisis who's being asked to falsify information and and stood up against that. I would love to hear from you about people like that who come up in your in your films. What the connection you feel to them? These are people who if your camera hadn't been turned on them. I would not know who that person is I would not know their story. And now that story will stay with me for for life. I think that. Well, in her case, I guess this happens to me a lot of because I'm fairly public, and you can reach me online. And I don't I don't have a there's a lot a lot of people to get through to to get to me. So. I received so many emails and things on my site from people that have that are essentially whistle blowers. That wanna share this with being what I be interested in making film about it or whatever. And I I I actually it's quite I try not to feel to overburdened by it. Because I I know I can't solve all this. And I can't put them on in Filmer to a film about their situation. So I feel very close to them in that sense. And I feel a huge responsibility in the case of Flynn for obvious reasons, personal connections, and family and stuff. But. Sometimes I think about. The audience though in terms of what I'm doing to them. And I know that when people see this film, they're going to be crushed about President Obama because you're critic you do have some criticism for Obama in this film. It's not I don't know if it's criticism. I just show what he did. And he depressed of the vote in Michigan along with Hillary. But he did something specifically in Flint. By going there and drinking the water and telling people the water was okay when it wasn't. And then after the water Christ start crisis started a loud, the Pentagon to essentially bomb Flint to conduct military exercises to prepare for urban warfare in America by firing missiles into abandoned houses schools and having troops parachute. Paratroop in come out of villa. Captors? And after everything that Flynn had been through that they were just target practice. For Obama's Pentagon. I knew when people in the theater would watch this that I because I don't want to I can't crush people's spirits. I mean, they've already so low, and so full of despair, and I have to, but I cannot not tell the truth and that and that the Trump is in in in the White House in part because liberals and Democrats are responsible for behavior that awhile for Trump to happen. Starting with liberals and Democrats in this city who forty they have forty years to stop him. Forty years before he was foisted on the soms. And I can't of all cities talk about a political city talk about a liberal city. But he somehow never spent a night in jail member had to answer for his behavior. Got to take full page ads calling for the execution of black teenagers who were innocent on and on and on. I swear to God, I promise you this head he'd been from Flint or Detroit. We you never would have heard of he would have been taken care of a long time ago. So I think we have to take some responsibility for how Trump happened. So I am worried about in addition to the people that are in the film. I'm worried about the people were watching it because I would have loved to the first scene the first woman, president take office. And and the fact that I couldn't I didn't even put this in the film because I thought the Obama stuff is going to be so crushing that to remind people that she eight thousand African American stayed home on election day. And didn't vote in Flint only ninety thousand Michiganders' went to the polls. Most of them Democrats and voted in line for an hour or two and then voted for every democrat on the ballot and left the top box plank ninety thousand Michiganders' she only lost Michigan by ten thousand seven hundred votes. That's how much they hated her Democrats liberals and hated the Democratic Party. And so so when she was fed the questions at the Flint debate influent, they had mother's poisoned children grow up to the microphone and told them that nobody would know the question when it was a lie. She was given the questions in advance. And when the mothers of the poison children found out a month or two later that it was a rig debate questions to Hillary not to Bernie. They went on TV and said, audios and more people stayed home. They vote for troll. But they said that that's it. So I'm sorry. I took so long answer that, but I, but I really there's always another character in my films, and it's the person in the audience somewhere in America watching this. And I constantly thinking about that. Because they can't leave this theater. Just wanted to go drink. Anne in making reversing Roe as you describe before you were really talking to both sides. And and I wonder what you brought to those conversations of the staunch pro-life supporters one of the things we found was that we've never met Gotcha filmmaking. I don't think any of us have except maybe sometimes you Mr. Moore like just gone issue and someone, but we sat with people where we basically really wanted to hear the point of view, and they were incredibly wary to let us in the door, and we had a conversation with a woman who runs a group called concerned women of America, which is an incredibly powerful lobbyist organization. They basically were part of the locals that really got the vote out for Trump, and they are mostly liberty university graduates. They're big fall supporters. They are kind of died in the wool of a particular type of evangelical voter, and they have big lists and affair amount of money. And they move very. Actively in particularly we'd just redistricted areas, and they get out the vote. So we sat down we were curious to talk to her about how she wanted to how she uses how she speaks to abortion because her entire platform is all about life as she gets things before her voters and she asked me point blank, where are you on this issue, and we had lunch, and I have to tell you. It's the craziest launch ever because I was very forthright. I said I come from a position of choice, and she said, well, and she basically asked me have you had an abortion, and I answered honestly. And I said, yes, I have. And it was the most Frank conversation that I had with someone on the other side about what it meant for us to be in dialogue together. And she eventually did this really weird interview with her because she has. It's complicated. Because we ended up not using our interview because it was a very specific political interview. But what I found fascinating about it is that she was willing to help us along the way she gave us lots of introductions to people. She helped arrange interview space for us with other pro-life leaders in DC, and I think she appreciated the fact that we had a very honest conversation. She knew that we weren't necessarily going to make an essay film that was completely. Our bias. I think is clear in the film. I look at this. As an issue that affects race class and a quality. And I also think that it's been used politically in a way that is obscene in this country. But I also feel that you know, the the people who did allow to speak to the to the life issue. We really were looking at the people who use it for political particularly. And there was one interview that we did not get that. I really wanted. It was with Marjorie Dan downfield or who runs the Susan b Anthony list, which is again, a political motivating list that basically promotes and supports candidates, and she declined, but she didn't let us use her office interviews, it was it was a really interesting set of conversations. But I think part of it is just as a filmmaker you approach people are very honest. And we went into from a position of inquiry. We were trying to figure out is there any compromise on this issue. Can you have a party where you basically, I might have very strong anti-choice feelings being I don't want to see anyone in my immediate community having abortion. But it's okay for you to choose that. It's very difficult to see if those two things can live in the same place. So the one thing I was gonna say is that I just I felt like I didn't really hit your question earlier. And I think you mitt to in particular Michael have had such tremendous box office success that as documentarian we are so grateful because you've proved the film can have a life in a theater and to see RV do as well as it's done. This year is also again testament to making films that are about big issues, but they really satisfy and that means something, but the wonderful crazy thing about our films that we came out at telluride and the cavenaugh hearings were pushed early September. And Netflix, basically said let's run with this. This is part of the conversation. That's happening right now. Let's go out. Early and let's make this part of this larger dialogue, and when you work with Netflix. You're making a film. It's available in twenty six languages that can go out to remember the hundreds of millions of people that goes out to at the push a button and said that kind of immediacy as someone who might not have a big distribution behind that kind of push to get into that conversation huge. So something that Stephen also enjoyed with who lose that ability to go out to all of their subscribers. We've just got a couple minutes. Michael let me wind this up with you a few years ago, you made capitalism a love story not long after the two thousand eight financial crash. And at the end that film, you talked about sort of backing away from filmmaking that you wanted other people to to rise up. You didn't want to be the only or most prominent voice out there who you've come back to filmmaking roaring back with Fahrenheit eleven nine. And before that where to invade next. And I either to know where your energies are right now. Jeeze do I have to be honest answer. Yeah. I always want to quit. I'm tired. I see. Levin people shot in the synagogue last week twelve people on a college bar this week, and it just constantly goes to my head. What was the point of making that film because I remember when we started bowling for Columbine? And it was the day after Columbine happened. And there had never been a mass shooting like that at a at a school like that. And and I said to my crew because we're making our TV show in the awful truth. I said we've got to do this. Because I I'm so worried this is going to become a thing now, and and that was our whole motivation. So that wouldn't become a thing. And now as we know it's so much part of daily life that if you turned on the news last night the killings and Thousand Oaks were maybe the third or fourth or fifth story after the fake attorney, general appointment, Ruth's ribs, and Hugh other things I I don't know I on one hand. I woke up this morning. And I thought oh, you know, what we've got. I gotta go back to this film. I've been wanting to make it week sorta started a while ago of how fortunate is to be a man right now in this era that my gender the one with the missing second x chromosome. It's actually it is they are but the fourth quadrant of that second access missing. So it's a why I'm not going to go into the biology of this for you that we have been running the show for ten thousand years, and the fact that that could change in my lifetime. And that is a man get to witness the end of men in the sense of running the show that we need to need to document this. I need to show the end of the white guy calling the shots. And I think it will be one of the funniest and yes. Most popular fill lover. But it's just, but it's from the white guys perspective of like, this is like the dinosaurs had had cameras, and they have filmed their end the end point of them. This is the end of this. And look in the for us. It happened in our lifetimes is such a blessing. You brought up a great point of few minutes ago. What do we do after we make bowling for Columbine and things don't now don't change, but get worse or the blue wall of silence goes back up or or we end up with six appointments, Trump could have four appointments by the time. He's done in twenty twenty one. If he's done that if he'll if he doesn't get a second term, this is such a profound question that you posed of what do we do in? How we feel about how we can't what we can't do about it. But I know. You're out of time. But I curious to hear if you had an answer to that. Or if either of you, I'll just share one quick thought, I think we've overly relied on our audiences being literate and be able to connect the dots. And they do and they can. But I don't think that that leads to action. I think that. In some cases of some films. There's like a new burden of responsibility filmmakers have to learn how to be impact producers, I'm awful impact producer. But I feel like a lot of people ask me what's your next project? And I'm like, well, I'm trying to make this not just go away because there's an implication that we're we're kind of done with crime and punishment and. Like if anything I'm motivated, just by the guilty feeling like, okay. I spent four years filming these guys up survey Xinle, and I really to at least them to make sure this is not in vain people being like, wow, that's crazy. He got retaliated for winter hat like the really dramatic. And then move on their way is really missing the point that. I think we're all trying to achieve which is, you know, seeing something real shift in notch culture, but these are all systemic issues. The policy has to be interrogated and saying documentary filmmakers like our lives are hard enough as it is. Let's not set the bar like too high for ourselves if you can edify an illuminated and make people feel empowered and motivated, and maybe they'll go out and do a little something respond to what you've created and move the ball forward. You know, two yards. Like, it's not nothing like, yeah. Some of the problems that we're talking about are like close to intractable that doesn't mean you shouldn't still push somewhat. It's hard to answer on the bowling for Columbine thing. Imagining like the twenty year if the twenty year. Sequel that's coming out like that would be maybe another one that makes people throw up afterwards. So, but like that doesn't mean that like just because everything is being achieved doesn't mean nothing is being achieved. Let's try to feel like we're going somewhere and keep going there. I just okay Saturday O'Connor her final letter. She just sort of, you know, she's stepping off the stage, basically due to her health. And I thought she had a billion idea civics basic civics education. Because ultimately, we're in we're in a democracy. This can be our society. No, one known teaches it no knows how it works. People aren't running for community board school boards any of that. We're just not Democrats might show it for midterms they sometime show for presidentials. Yeah. It's just like let's figure out how government works and make it ours. Again. I want to thank our four panelists. Michael Moore's latest film is Fahrenheit eleven nine. Julie Coen's film with Betsy west is RV g produced by CNN and now playing on digital platforms. Any some Berg's film with Ricki stern is reversing Roe plane net flicks, and Stephen manes film crime and punishment is available on Hulu. This panel was recorded at dock NYC pro the industry conference that runs alongside the dock and y festival the is produced by Eric Johnson. Thanks to our team series producer, Sarah modo, Hanno record us and Norden swan studio recorded Eric Spink sound mixer. Tom mica and web designer cross strategy are being music is composed by Andre Williams, and our executive producer is rough alienate housing. I'm Tom powers. You can follow me on Twitter T, H, M powers. Pure fiction is distributed by the tiff podcast network. You can read our show notes. Learn about live events and sign up for our newsletter at pure nonfiction dot net.

Coming up next