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Right-Wing Film Fest Targets Michael Moore
American Film Renaissance hopes national distributors will screen the festival's anti-Moore, pro-Bush and other
patriotic films
by Bill Berkowitz
September 8, 2004

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After a summer of left-of-center and anti-corporate films peppering theater screens across America, conservatives have launched a counter-offensive. At the upcoming American Film Renaissance film festival you won’t find Fahrenheit 9/11 or Bowling for Columbine, but Michael Moore’s presence will be writ large as two Moore-bashing documentaries, Michael Moore Hates America and Michael and Me, which will have their world premieres. A third movie premiering at the festival, George W. Bush: Faith in the White House, “will serve as an alternative” to Moore's anti-Bush Fahrenheit 9/11,” David W. Balsiger, the producer and director of the film told American Film Renaissance -- which will screen more than a dozen other films made for and by conservatives -- is geared toward taking “the offense” in America’s forty-year-old culture wars, says festival organizer Jim Hubbard.

American Film Renaissance -- whose slogan is “Doing Film the Right Way” -- is the first full-fledged film festival devoted entirely to the screening of films with a conservative perspective. "Conservatives have been on defense in this culture war going on 40 years," Jim Hubbard told the right wing online publication, "No war has ever been won playing defense. ... My notion is that we should go to the offense. That's the only way you can win any struggle."

While standing in line at a theater in Little Rock, Ark., a few years back, Jim and his wife Ellen were thoroughly disappointed by what they saw on the marquee: "We had a choice between Bowling for Columbine -- you know, Michael Moore's movie -- and Frida, which is about a Communist artist, and some other film," Jim Hubbard recently told the St. Petersburg Times. "My wife and I just didn't want to see any of that stuff,” he said.

"Where is the product for just regular Americans?” said Jim Hubbard. “A huge segment of the country is alienated by the entertainment industry (that) doesn't understand half the country, and probably more. Otherwise, they wouldn't be making films like Frida. Who cares about that?"

The Hubbards, now living in Dallas, decided to organize their own film festival, one that would represent “the 70 percent of the country who believe America is a good, decent place."

Hosting the premieres of two highly anticipated (in the conservative community at least) anti-Moore films -- Michael Wilson’s Michael Moore Hates America, which he says tries “to do to Michael Moore what he’s done to others,” and radio talk show host and WorldNetDaily columnist Larry Elder’s Michael and Me, which he claims combats the "deceit, half-truths and distortions" of Bowling for Columbine -- is a major coup for the festival.

In addition, the Hubbard’s have lined-up an impressive array of films aimed at countering liberal/progressive perspectives including: George W. Bush: Faith in the White House, a look at how faith influences the president’s decisions; Beyond the Passion of the Christ: The Impact, an examination of the impact internationally that Mel Gibson’s blockbuster has had; Is it True What They Say About Ann? , a profile the “real” Ann Coulter; Confronting Iraq, which promises to present what Americans didn’t hear about the threat to the security of the United States posed by Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq; and Covering Cuba 3: Elian, Miami’s Cuban exile community’s view of the Elian Gonzalez affair. (See below for a complete listing of the festival's films.)

"I've always been interested in politics and culture," Jim Hubbard told the St. Petersburg Times. "Since I was a teenager, I studied cultural and political messages in films. I noticed almost overwhelmingly that when there was a message in a film, it was invariably something I didn't agree with, that didn't share my world view. In my opinion, it didn't reflect the world view of the majority of people in this country."

"Many people ask me: What is a conservative film or documentary?" he added. “Really, I don't know if there's a definition. Our objective is trying to find product that a more conservative, traditional audience would gravitate toward. We're a mainstream film festival, and many people are trying to couch us in terms of being an adjunct of the Republican National Committee or the 700 Club. That really doesn't quite fit what we're trying to do."

Hubbard, a law school graduate, may have understated his politics when he told the Florida newspaper that he considered himself a "conservative independent.” He claimed that he didn't vote for President Bush in 2000, and that he voted for the Reform Party’s Ross Perot in 1996. Ellen Hubbard, an attorney specializing in civil-suit defenses, is an admirer of former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura. According to the newspaper, both are registered as Republicans in Arkansas. Together, Jim Hubbard said, they're "two peas in a pod." While the Hubbard’s told the newspaper that they weren’t out to change the world and only wanted to give the movie-going public more viewing choices, Jim Hubbard’s repeated invocation of the “culture wars” in his interview with WorldNetDaily, appears to belie those comments.

On the AFR web site, the Hubbards urge supporters to join them “for the first and only pro-American film festival in the country.” While they deny they are an appendage of the GOP, the web site clearly appeals to its audience’s interest in so-called traditional family values: “The key to protecting and preserving freedom lies not only in electing leaders who defend this idea, but in addition, the protection of our freedom obliges us to positively effect the cultural direction of our nation.”

"We've got to have at least one film festival for the 70 percent of the country who believe America is a good, decent place," Jim Hubbard told "We're going to be able to link up distributors with filmmakers, and they're going to be able to get their films into the marketplace -- and that's how you win the culture war."

Sponsored by WorldNetDaily and Dallas/Fort Worth’s 570 KLIF Talk Radio, the American Film Renaissance will be held from September 10-12 at the Studio Movie Grill, a five-screen facility in Dallas. The first evening’s events are by invitation only. Opening day for the public is set for the third anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. "We know that conservatives will be paying attention then," said Jim Hubbard. VIP Festival Passes -- entitling ticket holders admission to all films -- are available for $40. Tickets for single presentations are also available.

* * * * * * * * * * *

At press time, the films scheduled to be shown are:

Against Nature produced by WAG TV -- Produced in Great Britain this is “the most provocative documentary you'll ever watch about environmentalism.”

Beyond the Passion of the Christ: The Impact
by Tim Chey (World Premiere) -- “A commentary film about the powerful and often stunning impact [Mel Gibson’s] The Passion of the Christ had around the world.

Brainwashing 101
by Evan Maloney and Stuart Browning -- “How colleges teach students to fear capitalism, distrust our country, and crush dissent. A disturbing look at political correctness, the ideology that dominates campus life.”

Confronting Iraq by Roger Aronoff (World Premiere)
-- “What you didn't hear about the threat Iraq posed to America” featuring former CIA director James Woolsey.

Covering Cuba 3: Elian
by Agustin Blazquez (World Premiere) -- The story of Elian Gonzalez from the point of view of the Cuban American exile community.

DC/911: Time of Crisis
by Lionel Chetwynd -- “An inside look [minus the seven minutes of silence] at the courage and decisiveness of President Bush in the minutes, hours, and days following America's worst tragedy.”

To End All Wars
By Jack Hafer -- “a tight-knit group of Allied soldiers struggled to survive in a WWII Japanese POW camp.”

Entertaining Vietnam
by Mara Wallis -- “A shocking and moving look at the lives of the musicians and dancers who came under fire as they entertained those fighting for freedom.”

George W. Bush: Faith in the White House
a Grizzly Adams Production (World Premiere) -- “How the power of faith can change a life, build a family, and shape the destiny of a nation.”

Innocents Betrayed
-- Produced by Jews For The Preservation of Firearms Ownership, Inc., the film deal with how gun control “betrayed” the people of Germany, China, Cambodia, the Soviet Union, and Rwanda.

Is it True What They Say About Ann?
by Patrick Wright (World Premiere) -- “You've read her bestsellers and watched her take on the left, now see conservative thinker Ann Coulter as you've never seen her before.”

Mega Fix - The Dazzling Political Deceit That Led to 9/11
by Jack Cashill with assistance by Jayna Davis -- The conspiracy film to end all conspiracy film “traces the roots of September 11 to the perfect storm of disinformation that surrounded the Clintons' desperate drive for the White House in the years 1995-1996.”

Michael and Me
by Larry Elder (World Premiere) -- The radio talk show host’s response to Moore’s Bowling for Columbine.

Michael Moore Hates America
by Mike Wilson (World Premiere) -- Challenging Moore's “radical left-wing propaganda” and telling “the truth about a great nation.”

Operation Eagle Strike
by Kfir Alfia and Alan Davidson of Protest Warriors -- “What happened when a few courageous conservatives infiltrated a left-wing anti-war rally.”

The Peace Commies
by Jorge Torres -- The subversive hate-filled Marxists radicals behind the peace movement.

Relentless: The Struggle for Peace in the Middle East
-- “Unravel[ing] the myths and expos[ing] the obstacles to achieving peace in the Middle East.”

Remembering Saddam
by Don North -- “Six Iraqi men who endured unspeakable torture at the hands of Saddam Hussein” and how they are now “among America's staunchest supporters.”

The Siege of Western Civilization
by Herb Meyer (World Premiere) -- Meyer, Special Assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence and Vice Chairman of the CIA's National Intelligence Council under President Reagan, “outlines the history of Western Civilization and the threats we now face - from the War on Terrorism to our own country's 'Second Civil War.’"

Silent Victory
by Long Range Productions -- “Documentary about F/51st Long Range Patrol (Airborne) Infantry, the most successful unit of its kind during the Vietnam War.”

This Just in
by Steve Marmel -- “Animated ‘topical situation comedy’... address[es] current events and pop culture in real time with real humor.”

Bill Berkowitz is a longtime observer of the conservative movement. His column Conservative Watch documents the strategies, players, institutions, victories and defeats of the American Right.

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