[FoRK] Rove focus in film at SXSW
jbone at place.org
jbone at place.org
Fri Mar 12 11:18:30 PST 2004
Politics Is Focus at Texas Film Festival
Thu Mar 11, 5:57 PM ET
Add Entertainment - AP to My Yahoo!
By CHRISTY LEMIRE, AP Entertainment Writer
It'll be politics as (un)usual at the South by Southwest film festival,
where the focus in President Bush (news - web sites)'s home state will
be on the very forces that elevated him from the governor's mansion to
the White House.
The festival, which begins Friday in Austin, Texas, and runs through
March 20, features several political discussions and documentaries,
most notably "Bush's Brain," about presidential adviser Karl Rove.
Festival producer Matt Dentler said it was only natural to make
politics the main theme in such an intense election year.
"Every festival we do is sort of a signal of the times. Right now, the
times are full of a lot of political debate, political discussion,
political entertainment," Dentler said.
"Austin and Texas — it's such a weird political state, with all the
redistricting going on and all that stuff, and the fact that George
Bush was the governor of the state for years before becoming
Hence the presence of "Bush's Brain," making its world premiere
Saturday night. The documentary is based on the 2003 book of the same
name by veteran Texas journalists Wayne Slater and Jim Moore, which
depicts Rove as the most powerful political consultant in American
history and, in essence, a co-president.
"I knew the moment I met (Rove) back in the late '70s that he was
different," said Moore, a former television correspondent who has
covered Bush since his unsuccessful run for Congress in 1978. "He was
unbelievably intelligent but he seemed to be different in a way. ...
Every time I've been asked to describe Karl, I say there's a darkness
in him that other people don't have."
Rove was interviewed for the book but declined repeated requests to
take part in the film. He also declined to return calls for comment on
the film from The Associated Press.
Even though many people in Austin have been on the winning and losing
ends of Rove's strategies, Moore expects the film will be received
"extremely well" there.
"I wouldn't be surprised if Karl has some people in the audience to
jeer or cause a disruption," he said.
And Elizabeth Reeder, the film's co-producer, predicted: "We're ready
for some challenges at the screening."
"I think we have blown our invitation to Rick Perry's house for
dinner," Reeder joked, referring to the positive reception the Texas
governor gave the political documentary "Journeys With George" when it
screened at South by Southwest two years ago.
Despite the slogan "Texas: It's Like a Whole Other Country," Texas
really isn't so different politically from the rest of the United
States, said Austin-based documentarian Paul Stekler, a former
"When you look at Texas politics, it's unique in terms of the
iconography and the mythology of Texas," said Stekler, whose films
include the award-winning "George Wallace: Settin' the Woods on Fire."
"But a lot of the stuff going on here is going on all over the
country," he said.
Stekler's latest film, "Last Man Standing," also is making its world
premiere at South by Southwest. It's a behind-the-scenes look at how a
small-town election is indicative of the kind of Texas politics that
spawned Bush's career.
"This is probably the most closely divided the country has been in a
century and we're sort of at the vortex of it," Stekler said. "We're
divided over George Bush. ... You say 'Texas' and it provokes all these
Also on the political front, former Howard Dean (news - web sites)
campaign manager Joe Trippi will be the keynote speaker at the
concurrent South by Southwest interactive festival.
On the film side, discussions are planned with Gary Ross, the
writer-director of "Seabiscuit" and "Pleasantville"; "Animal House"
director John Landis, whose documentary "Slasher" will premiere at the
festival; and Jonathan Demme, director of "The Silence of the Lambs,"
who's showing his documentary "The Agronomist."
And, of course, there are the films themselves, some of which come with
the buzz of acclaim from earlier festivals. Among them:
_ "Code 46," the opening night film, starring Tim Robbins (news), a
recent Oscar winner for "Mystic River."
_ "Dogville," Danish director Lars Von Trier's three-hour indictment of
America, starring Nicole Kidman (news).
_ "Jersey Girl," starring Ben Affleck (news) and even less of Jennifer
Lopez (news) than there was before their very public breakup. (Director
Kevin Smith (news) recently cut the scene in which the two marry.)
_ "Super Size Me," about the evils of fast food consumption, which
earned Morgan Spurlock — who eats nothing but McDonald's for a month in
the film — the documentary directing prize at Sundance.
Dentler, the festival producer, said "Super Size Me" is "more relevant
now than ever" in light of the McDonald's decision to phase out
super-sized versions of its meals.
"We fell in love with it even before it played at Sundance," he said.
"Everyone in America has had fast food at some point in their lives."
On the Net:
More information about the FoRK