The Walt Disney Company has taken the first shot in what promises to be a major battle in the
coming election year, the corporatization of American politics. Of course, American art has long been subject to the
whim of political and corporate figures, as has politics. However, the increasing overt influence that America's
corporate world has on the political landscape of this country has surpassed Owellian proportions.
Before you ask yourself what in the hell this has to do with indie or doc film, dig this: On Tuesday May 4th it was announced that Disney was blocking subsidiary distributor Miramax from distributing Michael Moore's upcoming film, Fahrenheit 911. Now many have criticized Moore's decision to take $6 million from Miramax to produce the film (see links below) and I agree but won't echo those thoughts. Also, while Moore has often been criticized for being self-serving, hypocritical or just plain loud, that's really not the point, here. What is the issue, as I see it, is the increasing influence corporations like Diebold,Haliburton and now Disney have in the continually merging worlds of art, media and politics.
While Moore's film is art, as a political documentary it may also be called journalism and political activism. By refusing to release the film, Disney has made a strong political statement, even if they have not yet stated their reasons for doing so. The end result will likely be that they have given the film a huge boost by taking this stand and the movie will be released, whether Disney, Jeb Bush, W or 'Poppy' want it seen or not. I urge all of you to write, call or email Disney and tell them that this is a cowardly move, one that sets the cause of free speech back decades. To poach a phrase from Paddy Chayefsky, I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!
Walt Disney Company, Burbank, CA-(818) 560-1000.
I couldn't find an email address, but this ought to do!