I'm sure most documentary filmmakers hope for some kind of attention for their film; whether it's acclaim or controversy, it all helps sell tickets. On the other hand, I'm not so sure that any filmmaker would like to be accused of being an apologist for a terrorist.

Variety reports that Canadian audiences and critics have accused a Canadian filmmaker, Jean-Daniel Lafond, of exactly that. Lafond's newest documentary, American Fugitive, is the story of David Belfield, an American who assassinated the former press attaché to the Shah of Iran in 1980. After the murder, Belfield immediately fled to Canada, and eventually Iran, where he still resides. Authorities finally located David Belfield (aka Hassan Abdulrahman)in 2001 when he turned up in the most unlikely of places -- as an actor in the Iranian film Kandahar.

Critics have complained that Lafond's film makes excuses for Belfield by presenting theories that the assassination was part of a deal with Reagan as part of attempting to free the hostages in Tehran, as well as claims of anti-Americanism. Lafond has denied these accusations: "It's simply an attempt to understand this guy, not to judge him. I was never sympathetic to Hassan's action, and he knew that."

The film has only had a limited release in Quebec so far but, can any film really bounce back after that kind of press? If what happened at the box-office for Death of A President is any indication, then I guess not.