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Toronto Documentary Filmmakers are Getting Controversial

First there's the documentary, Lost Tomb of Jesus, about the discovery of two caskets that may contain the remains of Jesus and Mary Magdalene (to be aired on the Discovery Channel this Sunday). The film, directed by Toronto-based filmmaker Simcha Jacobocici and produced by James Cameron, is quickly generating disagreement with scholars and Christian leaders who doubt the documentary's claims.

And then I found more Torontonian-created controversy with an unauthorized film about the hugely popular documentary maker Michael Moore. Directed by Toronto filmmakers Rick Caine and Debbie Melnyk, Manufacturing Dissent will be get it's world premiere at SXSW.

When I first heard about a film that looks at Moore in a less-than-flattering light, I immediately thought about the right-wing inspired titles that quickly came after Fahrenheit 9/11 (most famously, Michael Moore Hates America and FahrenHYPE 9/11). Manufacturing Dissent looks like it's going to be a bit different.

The filmmakers found huge obstacles in trying to document Moore himself, but they appreciate that Moore has made documentary such an important and popular genre. While the film has some positive things to say about Moore, Manufacturing Dissent reportedly goes over a number of errors and omissions in his documentaries, and explains the hurdles they had to deal with in getting access to Moore (including being kicked out of his film festival in Michigan).

I haven't seen a wider release date or a Toronto date, but there's already a lot of buzz before the premiere. Being a fan of Moore and a fan of Canadian documentary, including Caine and Melynk's excellent Citizen Black, I'm curious to see if Manufacturing Dissent has something interesting to say about a major political figure or will it be backlash for the sake of backlash.

photo: Image from Reza Vaziri's photos from the blogTO flickr pool


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