Meeting Michael Moore

September 24, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

Some asked: “Who do you think wrote that anonymous letter to the New York Times?” and Michael Moore answered, “I think it was Donald J Trump or he got someone who could write to do it for him. That created a diversion – we talked about it and it was big in the news for four days. It was a distraction while he put a judge on the Supreme Court who will outlaw abortion!

“Donald Trump is a master of diversion – get them fussing about something over here-” and he held his hands over there – “and he does something else over there-” and he moved his hands to demonstrate. “He is so cunning and dangerous.

“The day Trump was elected by the Electoral college there were 150 million people living in poverty in the United States.”

We were gathered last weekend, at Michael Moore’s version of a TIFF party, his “People’s Party.”

He had put it out there: he apologized to Canadians for Donald Trump and invited anyone who wanted to come and join him at the Assembly Chef’s Hall on Richmond Street. He invited the audiences who came to see his new movie, Fahrenheit 11/9, a scourging – and humorous at times – documentary showing how Trump came to be president and, possibly, how to stop him changing the country beyond recognition.

He invited the larger world on Instagram to join him and so, we did. Mr. Moore has been on Patricia’s top three people to meet and she has followed his social media, seen all his movies and respected him for years.

The venues on Richmond Street, is divided into two levels ten steps apart but open in a way that everyone can be seen. We stood on the lower level while Mr Moore took up a position on the steps so that he could see all of us and we could clearly see him.

For this film, there were two rather large and unforeseen problems. The first was the funding, that had been agreed, was withdrawn for reasons unrelated to the film itself. So, he had to look around:

“We had to get had to get the funding privately.”

Then, they “struggled to distribute and realized I had to do it myself. We set up a new company, Briarcliff, to distribute.”

The numbers of  movie houses wanting to sign on to run the film soon doubled the 600 minimum, as they released the trailer. The numbers have increased substantially since then.

He answered questions about what will happen to Trump after Mueller’s investigation: “Nothing. Mueller will indict a few more people but he  cannot indict a sitting president.”

He went to tell us, “When you can get so unglued and so crazy, the crazies don’t seem so crazy anymore. News media seems to start to treat them as the new normal and people don’t know what to do about that.”

He advised: “What you don’t do is you don’t try to shut them down; you  don’t disinvite them from the New Yorker festival; don’t say that they shouldn’t come to Toronto;  don’t say that you shouldn’t have a conversation with them.

“If you shut them down, it only makes them more unstable.”

However, as he suggested, “If you have those people on your phone, silently block them on your Facebook.”

Further: “I’m telling Democrats running for congress – don’t say the “I” word.”

Patricia Scrafield posed her question: “I saw you in an interview talking about getting into Mar-a-lago. What was that like for you?”

“It didn’t work out the way I thought it would . It was boring just watching Don Jr eat – I didn’t  put it  in the movie,” he told her.

Fahrenheit 11/9 has received powerful reviews, largely positive. On last Saturday, Rotten Tomatoes had given it a rating of 100%; the last showing is still 96.5%.

As distributor, Mr Moore informed this Toronto gathering that the film will be in Toronto movie houses this Friday, September 21.

He moved on to join friends and distant relatives, as his grandfather was born and lived in Ontario – “I’m one quarter Ontarian,” he stated. We could see him easily from where we sat, still on the lower level.

At one point, Patricia left our table and dashed up to the upper level. She was there for about 15 minutes. When she came back, she was all aglow. She had met him, shaken hands and had a brief conversation.

He told her that her question meant more to him than she might know; they took a selfie. They parted with mutual respect.

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