So, What'd You Shoot On?
By Nora Ankrum,
4:00AM, Sun. Mar. 11, 2007
Maybe I should care, but I don't. I so don't care what camera a filmmaker uses or what film or whatever. But it's the same every time. No Q&A is complete without The Question: "So, what did you guys shoot on?" And The Question only leads to more of the same: funding, distribution deals. Yuck.
But tonight's Q&A following the Paramount Theatre premiere of Manufacturing Dissent (the unflattering documentary about Michael Moore and some of his more disingenuous doc-making techniques) was awesome. It totally avoided The Question for like a full 15 minutes. That's what happens when you piss off a bunch of Michael Moore fans, I guess.
One guy asked, "What makes you different from Michael Moore?" in an attempt to take directors Debbie Melnyk and Rick Caine off their supposed high horse. Another used an oddly minute and inconsequential detail from the film to accuse the filmmakers of contradicting themselves; upon explanation it was clear the audience member had just misunderstood the detail.
Someone else seemed to be trying to corner the filmmakers into saying that Noam Chomsky, who is interviewed in the film, doesn't approve of it, even after Melnyk and Caine explained that he hadn't seen it yet. "So Noam Chomsky doesn't endorse the film?" pressed the audience member, to which Melnyk patiently explained that he can't endorse it or not-endorse it when he hasn't seen it. Basically, everyone seemed to be casting about in an awkward attempt to call the filmmakers on mistakes they couldn't identify.
It was all pretty tense, really, especially when a man behind me in the balcony stood up to say that he's from Iraq, that 650,000 Iraqis have been killed in the war, and why don't Melnyk and Caine make a documentary about that?
Then, just when it was clear that time was running out, there was the "ooh, ooh, me me" guy who finally got called on so that he could ask, "So, what'd you shoot on?" It was the first time I was ever glad to hear The Question.
In case it's not obvious, I liked the film. Or at least I thought it was fair, as were a lot of the Q&A questions. They were just more revealing of the emotions tied up in the film than they were of its faults.