Michael Moore wants Bush, Clinton to view 'Pets or Meat: The Return to Flint'
September 1, 1992

Doug Pullen

Film Maker Invites Candidates Here

Michael Moore hopes the presidential candidates will attend a Sept. 21 screening of his new "Pets or Meat: The Return to Flint" TV special at Whiting Auditorium.

The Flint film maker this morning formally invited President Bush and Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton to a "town hall meeting" to coincide with the premiere.

Moore doesn't have any confirmations yet, but figures his timing is good. The first televised presidential debate is scheduled for the next night, Sept. 22, at Michigan State University in East Lansing.

"It's just 40 minutes down the road," quipped Moore, in town for a press conference today at Whiting to announce the event.

But he's not joking about his reasons for stepping into the election fray. "We want them to hear the voices of Flint," Moore said.

If neither candidate bites, Moore would settle for the vice presidential candidates, Dan Quayle and Albert Gore, possibly Marilyn Quayle, "but not Tipper," Moore cracked, referring to Gore's wife, who led the call for labeling record albums that contain "explicit" lyrics.

"They need to come here - forget the sound bites, forget the rhetoric -- and see what happened to the people of this town. They need assistance. Hurricane Andrew has been here for 12 years, it's just slower," Moore continued, ticking off a list of the city's ills, including poverty and crime rates among the nation's worst.

"Pets or Meat: The Return to Flint" will follow the broadcast debut of "Roger & Me" Sept. 28 on PBS' "P.O.V." series.

"Pets" attempts, in Moore's satiric way, to update "Roger and Me" and draw parallels between Flint's problems and the country's.

Moore catches up with successful author and former autoworker Ben Hamper, "rabbit lady" Rhonda Britton and "Deputy" Fred Ross, all of whom figured prominently in "Roger & Me."

He also pokes fun at Mayor Woodrow Stanley, who declined to be interviewed for the film, and pays a visit to Frankenmuth.

Most potentially offensive segment: a snake swallowing a large rabbit, a scene Moore describes as a metaphor for GM devouring Flint.

Marc Weiss, the Emmy Award-winning executive producer of "P.O.V." was in town for today's press conference. He said securing the broadcast rights to "Roger & Me" earlier this year was "a real coup."

"The series is a showcase for a range of work done by independent film makers," Weiss said. "What all of them have in common, because they're very diverse, is that they're all made by film makers who care passionately about the subjects they've taken on.

" 'Roger & Me' is a perfect example of [that]."

Of "Pets," Weiss said:. "It makes sense to have an update to see what's happened in the last three years, not only in terms of Michael but Flint and the economic situation."

Moore says the half-hour documentary will show this weekend at the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado. It also has been accepted into the New York, Toronto, Denver and Vancouver film festivals after its showing here.

"The Toronto, New York and Denver festivals automatically qualify it for Academy Award nomination consideration," says Moore, whose "Roger & Me" snub may have been the result of controversy over inaccuracies in the film.

Copyright 1992 Flint Journal


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