Wednesday, May 05, 2004
" Disney 'blocks' Moore documentary
Controversial director Michael Moore has said film studio Disney is refusing to release his new documentary, which heavily criticises President Bush.
Fahrenheit 911 was to be distributed by Miramax, a division of Disney.
But Disney has "officially decided to prohibit" Miramax from distributing the film, the director said on his website.
Moore, who won an Oscar for Bowling for Columbine in 2003, questioned whether in a "free and open society" Disney should be making such a decision.
Fahrenheit 911 links Mr Bush with powerful families in Saudi Arabia, including that of Osama Bin Laden, and attacks his actions before and after 11 September.
Some people may be afraid of this movie because of what it will show
Miramax, run by Hollywood moguls Harvey and Bob Weinstein, agreed to distribute the documentary but Disney signalled it was not happy with the deal.
Disney bought Miramax 10 years ago but retained the rights to block films it deemed against its interests, such as adult-rated films.
But the New York Times said Miramax did not agree this was a situation where that clause should be invoked.
"For nearly a year, this struggle has been a lesson in just how difficult it is in this country to create a piece of art that might upset those in charge," Moore said on his official site.
"Some people may be afraid of this movie because of what it will show.
"But there's nothing they can do about it now because it's done, it's awesome, and if I have anything to say about it, you'll see it this summer - because, after all, it is a free country."
Miramax spokesman Matthew Hilzik told the New York Times: "We are discussing the issues with Disney. We're looking at our options and look forward to resolving this amicably."
But Zenia Mucha, a Disney spokesman, said: "We advised both [Moore's] agent and Miramax in May of 2003 that the film would not be distributed. That decision stands."
Moore's agent, Ari Emanuel, accused Disney and its chief executive Michael Eisner of fearing a loss of tax breaks if it backed the release in the US.
Moore will give Fahrenheit 911 its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, but no date has been set for a US release."