MSNBC | Cubans flock to see ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’

HAVANA – No surprise here: Cuban audiences love Michael Moore’s anti-Bush “Fahrenheit 9/11.”

After opening the island’s summer film program and playing to sold-out crowds in 120 movie theaters across the island, Cuba’s communist government decided to air it on state-run television last Thursday.

… The day after the movie opened in U.S. theaters, Cubans had their hands on bootleg copies. For weeks before the Havana premier, underground video stores were renting “Fahrenheit” for five pesos a night.

… Others were surprised that the U.S. system tolerated such strident criticism of a sitting president.

Alex Martin, 30, praised both Moore for having had the “courage” to make the movie, and “U.S. democracy for protecting freedom of speech.”

Despite the new U.S. travel regulations limiting visits to the island, there was a sprinkling of Americans who saw the documentary in Cuban theaters.

Emerging from the Yara Theater in downtown Havana, Abigail Nelson, an American college student learning Spanish this summer in Havana, noted, “Michael Moore and Fidel Castro see the world eye-to-eye.”

Neither Mr Moore nor his representatives suggested that anything should be done about this conspicuous, widespread media piracy.

Yahoo (Reuters) | ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ Shown on Prime Time TV in Cuba

… Cubans have stood in long lines to buy tickets to see rough DVD copies projected at 120 cinema theaters across the island to unfailing applause.

“We hope this film will lead Americans to see the reality of their government, and not only deny Bush reelection but put him on trial for the harm he has done to humanity,” said retired worker Armando Rodriguez.

… Cuban dissidents who saw “Fahrenheit 9/11” praised the United States for its freedom of expression and lamented that such criticism of a president was not allowed in Cuba where the one-party state controls the media.

The irony of this was not commented upon by Mr Moore or his representatives.

Guardian | Cuban screening won’t rule Moore out of Oscars

Fahrenheit 9/11 is still eligible for next year’s Oscars despite being screened on Cuban TV last week, the Academy of Motions Picture Arts and Sciences has admitted.

There had been fears that the illegal broadcast might have scuppered director Michael Moore’s chance to add to his 2003 award for Bowling For Columbine. The Academy rules that any feature documentary that airs on TV within nine months of its theatrical release is automatically barred from contention.

In a joint statement, the film’s distributors – Harvey and Bob Weinstein, IFC Entertainment chief Jonathan Sehring and Lions Gate president Tom Ortenberg, insisted that the Academy’s rule “has not been violated because it was a stolen copy and was in no way authorised by its distributors”. Yesterday the Academy appeared to accept the argument. “As far as we are concerned, if this was a bootleg, as we believe it was, then we will not penalise them,” Academy director of communications John Pavlik told Variety.

The Academy, like Mr Moore, made no statement on the subject of media piracy in Cuba, whether of praise, tolerance or condemnation. The MPAA, hopelessly out of its jurisdiction, threw up its hands in resignation.

Yahoo (Reuters) | Cuban ‘Fahrenheit’ Telecast Raises Oscar Questions

Because the Academy rule restricting TV or Internet display of Oscar contenders applies only to documentaries, “Fahrenheit 9/11” could still qualify for nomination as best picture, best director or best original screenplay.

Variety speculated that backers of the film might regard the movie, which has been popular among Hollywood’s liberal-leaning elite, as having a better chance of clinching a nomination in the best picture race if it was disqualified from the documentary contest.

On the other hand, the film now qualifies for an Emmy.

Spoof | Michael Moore wins Academy Award

(Los Angeles, CA) — People Magazine first broke the story about director Michael Moore winning an Academy Award for “Best Picture” last night. Academy Award officials visited Moore today at his New York City home and told him that he could not simply GIVE an award to himself. Moore reportedly replied, “Obviously I can because there it is now, on my mantle don’t you see?”.

Moore, still shoolgirlishly giddy about his hit movie Fahrenheit 911 apparently commissioned an LA trophy shop to fashion and build him an Academy Award for best picture. Inside sources say that after picking up the trophy from the shop Moore then awarded it to himself in a private ceremony at his home Sunday night. “He even gave himself an acceptance speech in front of his own camcorder” one anonymous source said.

Well, obviously, the only awards that mean anything are those that come from people you respect and love.

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