Quote from Michael Moore:
"I'm a millionaire, I'm a multi-millionaire. I'm filthy rich. You know why I'm a multi-millionaire? 'Cause multi-millions like what I do."
Michael Francis Moore was born on April 23, 1954, in Davison, Michigan, a suburb of Flint. He attended St. John's Elementary School (a Catholic primary school), and Davison High School. He was an Eagle Scout. After dropping out of the University of Michigan, he founded an alternative weekly newspaper, The Flint Voice, which eventually evolved into The Michigan Voice, covering the state. Since 1991, Moore has been married to Kathleen Glynn (a producer). They have one daughter.
In 1986, Moore was hired to be the editor of Mother Jones, the liberal political magazine, but his employment was short-lived. Some scandal and a lot of controversy surrounded his departure. He went to work for Ralph Nader, and sued Mother Jones for wrongful termination, claiming $2-million in damages. With his settlement of $58,000, Moore financed his first film, Roger & Me.
Michael Moore's Filmography:
- Academy Award: Bowling for Columbine, 2003, Best Documentary
- Cannes Film Festival: Fahrenheit 9/11, 2004, Palme d'Or, FIPRESCI Prize; Bowling for Columbine, 2002, 55th Anniversary Prize
- César Awards, France: Bowling for Columbine, 2003, Best Foreign Film
- Emmy Awards: TV Nation, 1995, Outstanding Informational Series
- International Documentary Association: Fahrenheit 9/11, 2004, IDA Award, Feature Documentaries (Tied with Born Into Brothels); Roger & Me, 1990, IDA Award
Best Selling Books:
- Downsize This! (1996). Politics and corporate crime in the U.S.
- Stupid White Men (2001). A very humorous book about American domestic and foreign policy.
- Dude, Where's My Country? (2003). A look at the Bush family's ties to Saudi royalty, the Bin Laden family and the energy industry. Intended to activate liberals for the 2004 election.
Approach to Documentary Filmmaking:
Michael Moore isn't camera shy. In fact, he's as famous for his on camera antics as he is for his directorial efforts espousing liberal causes he personally supports. This sets Moore apart from cinema verite filmmakers who remain inconspicuous when filming and maintain an attitude of objectivity about the subjects and issues they're covering. In contrast, Moore's his own main protagonist. He confronts subjects on camera, dramatically proves points, convinces audiences and fires them up to take action. Moore's filmmaking is a political platform. Simultaneously, Moore's a humorist and thinks films should be fun.
Michael Moore's Core Values:
Moore's background is blue collar, and he's solidly pro-labor. His parents, who worked for the Davison General Motors assembly plant, were staunch members of the United Automobile Workers, and his uncle was one of the founders of the union. In his first film, Roger & Me, Moore confronts General Motors-- and CEO Roger Smith-- about the effects the company's plant closing will have on the people of Flint. Basically, he accuses General Motors of corporate greed that's destroying his hometown. Moore's first film is clearly rooted in his own background, and his subsequent films take up related issues.
Issues, Issues and Moore Issues:
Moore's films cover a social and political issues such as gun control in Bowling for Columbine, health care in Sicko, corporate greed in Roger & Me, America's coping with terrorism in Fahrenheit 9/11. For Moore, film's a vehicle for presenting issues, premiers are opportunities to inform the public about current political concerns. While publicizing Sicko, Moore railed against the Iraq War, demanding an end to the sacrifice of lives to protect the energy industry's interests. Moore mixes political proselytizing with a folksy Midwestern appeal. He's like a crusading Garrison Keillor. He simply can't be ignored.