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Doug Gamble- Contributor

Doug Gamble is a former writer for President Ronald Reagan and resides in Carmel. [go to Gamble index]

What? Conservative Movies?
A cottage industry is gaining momentum
[Doug Gamble] 10/13/04

There was a time when the words “conservative film festival” would have been an oxymoron, but not anymore. Yes, Virginia, there are conservative movies.

Not only were some of them screened recently at an event called the Liberty Film Festival, but it was held in the heart of West Hollywood, a bastion of southern California liberalism. Talk about in your face. This is somewhat akin to staging a Bush for president rally in North Korea.

One of the guiding hands behind the event was filmmaker Jason Apuzzo, whose movie Terminal Island was among those shown during the festival’s three days. He believes there’s a sizable audience for movies with conservative viewpoints if only they’re made available.

When he was fresh out of USC Cinema School, Apuzzo and his wife wrote a movie called The Terrorist, that they shopped to 10 film companies in hopes of getting it produced. It was largely rejected outright, according to Apuzzo, because the villains were Muslim terrorists, and producers who did like it insisted it be re-written to reflect the terrorists’ point of view and explain their motivations.

He also says that one company had an association with Robert Redford and would not allign itself with any project Redford would disapprove of. So with $7,000 of his own money and the help of actors willing to work for free, he made Terminal Island, about a Wahabi Muslim who blows up buildings in the L.A. area and a bounty hunter tracking him.

If Michael Moore has done nothing else he has spawned an industry of anti-Moore filmmakers, three of whose work were featured at the West Hollywood event. In addition to the west coast premiere of KABC Radio talk show host Larry Elder’s Michael and Me, a pro-gun ownership film that takes on Moore’s Bowling For Columbine, there was Mike Wilson’s Michael Moore Hates America, and Celsius 41.11, a response to Moore’s Fahrenheit 911 by Hollywood writer, producer, director and Oscar nominee Lionel Chetwynd, a longtime courageous conservative voice in Hollywood.

Although some of the movies at the festival were fiction, the predominance of documentaries may well foreshadow such productions as the latest weapon on the political battlefield, becoming almost as ubiquitous as dueling TV ads by 2008.

What’s encouraging to conservatives who lament the left’s domination of Hollywood is that the California event followed a similar one in Dallas last month organized by law school graduate Jim Hubbard. Originally expected to feature only a few documentaries, the festival ended up screening almost two dozen.

Hubbard says, “The left has had an inordinate influence in Hollywood over the last 40 years and we’re going to change that. The best way to counter Michael Moore and the cultural elite in general is to get out there and produce films.”
Hubbard believes there are millions of Americans tired of movies that treat faith, America and traditional values with negativity and cynicism, and cites the popularity of The Passion of the Christ as proof that there’s a sizable audience craving a different type of movie.

The West Hollywood event erupted into boos whenever Moore’s name was mentioned, but he may have the last laugh beyond the millions Fahrenheit 911 has earned. He has withdrawn the movie from consideration in the Academy Award’s best documentary category and wants it nominated for the highest award of all.

If President Bush wins the election, look for Hollywood to not only nominate Moore’s propaganda piece but to take a slap at Bush by selecting it as best picture. CRO

California-based Doug Gamble contributed speech material to Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and writes a twice-monthly column for the Orange County Register and

Copyright 2004 Doug Gamble




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