Bowling for Columbine
First coming to the attention of the public with the award winning documentary “Roger and Me” (1989), American filmmaker and bestselling author Michael Moore has established a reputation as one of the most celebrated figures in the cinematic industry with three of the top five highest-grossing documentaries of all time: “Bowling for Columbine” (2002), “Fahrenheit 9/11” (2004) and “Sicko” (2007). One of Time magazine's “100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2005, Moore received an Oscar for “Bowling for Columbine” and Cannes' Palme d'Or for “Fahrenheit 9/11,” while “Sicko” was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Film. After winning his Academy Award, Moore stated, “On behalf of our producers, Kathleen Glynn and Michael Donovan from Canada, I'd like to thank the Academy for this. I have invited my fellow documentary nominees on the stage with us and we would like to say that they're here in solidarity with me because we like non-fiction. We like non-fiction and we live in fictitious times. We live in the time where we have fictitious election results that elect a fictitious president. We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons. Whether it's the fiction of duct tape or fiction of orange alerts, we are against this war, Mr. Bush. Shame on you, Mr. Bush, shame on you.”
Other films he directed include “Canadian Bacon” (1995), his first fictional movie, “The Big One” (1997) and “Captain Mike Across America” (2007). On the small screen, Moore is best known as the creator of “TV Nation” (1994-1995), from which he won an Emmy Award, and “The Awful Truth” (1999-2000). Moore's popular books are “Downsize This!: Random Threats from an Unarmed American” (1996), “Stupid White Men ...and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation” (2002) and “Dude, Where's My Country” (2003).
Prior to his prominent filmmaking career, Moore was a newspaper editor.
As for his personal life, Moore is the husband of producer Kathleen Glynn and the father of one.
The Big Man
Childhood and Family:
Michael Francis Moore was born on April 23, 1954, in Davison, a suburb of Flint, Michigan, to Frank Moore, an automotive fabrication-line employee, and Veronica, a secretary. The city of Flint was then home to one of General Motors' largest manufacturing plants, in which his dad and grandfather both worked. His uncle was the co-founder of the United Automobile Workers labor union and organized the Flint Sit-Down Strike. Michael has two sisters, Anna and Veronica.
A product of an Irish-Catholic family, Michael was raised Roman Catholic and attended St. John's Elementary School until age 14 when he transferred to Davison High School. It was at Davison that he showed an interest in student politics. As an Eagle Scout, he made a slide show that disclosed the Flint company endangering the environment and was handed a merit badge for his effort. When he was 18, he was elected to the Davison school board, making Michael one of the youngest people in the United States to win an election for public office. After high school, he attended the University of Michigan-Flint, but soon quit to concentrate on activism and begin a career in journalism.
Michael Moore, whose nickname is “The Big Man,” has been married to wife Kathleen Glynn, a producer, since 1991. He is the stepfather of Kathleen' daughter, Natalie (born 1982). Michael and his family reside in New York City.
An avid student activist, Michael Moore left college to focus on political activism. After briefly working at a General Motors plant, in 1976, 22-year-old Moore founded the alternative weekly newspaper “The Flint Voice,” where he was also an editor. Under his direction, the paper developed into “The Michigan Voice.” The success put Moore under the radar of the California-based liberal political magazine “Mother Jones,” who recruited him as executive editor in 1986. However, he was soon fired after refusing to run a specific article.
“When I'm shooting a movie, I'm always in an invisible theater seat. I respect the fact that people have worked hard all week and want to go to the movies on the weekend and be entertained. But the struggle for me does not come between politics and entertainment, because I know that if I succeed in making an entertaining and funny or sad film, the things I want to say politically will come through very strong. If there ever is a struggle, making a good movie will always supersede the need to be noble.” Michael Moore
Moore went on to work for Ralph Nader for a period before establishing a production company called Dog Eat Dog Films. It took three years for the aspiring filmmaker to finish his first film, “Roger and Me,” a dark humorous documentary about the blockage of General Motors' plant at Flint, which caused the loss of 30,000 jobs. Also detailing Moore's unsuccessful attempts to get an interview with GM CEO Roger Smith, the $160,000 movie, which he financed from his settlement fee from “Mother Jones,” selling his Flint house and holding bingo games, was a critical success and went on to become one of the most flourishing documentaries of all time. Popular on the festival circuits, “Roger and Me” received the Peace Film Award - Honorable Mention from the Berlin International Film Festival, the People's Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, the Most Popular Film honor at the Vancouver International Film Festival and the 1990 International Documentary Association Award.
Moore then appeared as an interviewer in a documentary about extremist White Power groups, “Blood in the Face” (1991), which was co-directed by the cameraman of “Roger & Me,” Kevin Rafferty. He also wrote the forward to “Rivethead: Tales from the Assemblyline,” a well-responded collection of essays by Ben Hamper. He returned to filmmaking the next year to direct, script and produce the 23-minute documentary “Pets or Meat: The Return to Flint,” a sequel to “Roger and Me.” He also appeared in the film.
It was also in 1992 that Moore made his TV debut with a segment of “Rock the Vote,” a Fox variety special intended to get young people to register to vote. He served as director and also appeared in the show. However, Moore did not win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Informational Series until he created, executive produced, directed and wrote “TV Nation.” Debuting on NBC on July 19, 1994, the show, which he also hosted, collected a devoted following and earned positive feedback but was axed by the network because of low ratings. “TV Nation” also brought Moore PGA Golden Laurel's Nova Award for Most Promising Producer in Television.
In 1995, Moore directed and wrote “Canadian Bacon,” his first fictional motion picture. A satirical comedy starring John Candy, Alan Alda and Kevin Pollak, the film was a disappointment and Moore took a hiatus from film. During the break, he wrote “Downsize This!: Random Threats from an Unarmed American,” a book of political commentary which went on to become a surprise best seller in 1996. He toured 47 cities to promote the book and brought a camera crew with him to make a documentary about the economic difference in America. The resulting movie, “The Big One,” was shown at the Toronto Film Festival in September 1997 and the Berlin International Film Festival in February 1998 before receiving a U.S. release in April 1998. A satire of corporate America, the film netted the Audience Favorite Documentary Award at the Aspen Filmfest and the People's Choice Award - Documentary Film at the Denver International Film Festival.
At the end of the decade, Moore revisited the small screen with the newsmagazine show “The Awful Truth,” which ridiculed actions by big corporations and politicians. He served as executive producer, writer and director and also appeared on the show, which was broadcasted in the U.K. on Channel 4 and the U.S. on the Bravo network from 1999 to 2000. “The Awful Truth” netted Emmy nominations in 1999 and 2001 in the category of Outstanding Non-Fiction Program (Reality).
Entering the new millennium, Moore, who had a cameo role as a panel member in the Ron Howard comedy “EdTV” (1999), landed a supporting role in the Nora Ephron-helmed “Lucky Numbers” (2000), a comedy starring John Tavolta, Tim Roth and Lisa Kudrow. He then portrayed a character named Walter in “The Fever,” (2004).
Moore enjoyed a breakthrough as a filmmaker with “Bowling for Columbine” (2002). The film amassed countless awards, including an Academy Award for Best Documentary, a César for Best Foreign Film, an Independent Spirit for Best Documentary, a Writers Guild of America for Best Original Screenplay and the 55th Anniversary Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. It also broke box-office records for nonfiction films. Later that year, he gained additional fame as the writer of the New York Times bestseller “Stupid White Men ...and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation!” He published another successful book in 2003 called “Dude, Where's My Country?”
After “Bowling for Columbine,” Moore directed and wrote the documentary “Fahrenheit 9/11” (2004), an extremely critical look at the Bush administration and the White House after the September 11 terrorist attacks. The film was shown at the Cannes Film Festival and won the Palme d'Or and the FIPRESCI Prize. Other awards won were a Hollywood Film Festival for Hollywood Movie of the Year, an International Documentary Association for Feature Documentaries and an Audience Award at the Sarajevo Film Festival. At the box office, “Fahrenheit 9/11” grossed nearly $200 million worldwide, making it the most successful documentary in history.
Three years after controversial “Fahrenheit 9/11,” Moore wrote and directed “Sicko” (2007), a criticism of the health care system in America. The film debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2007 and received an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature and a Writers Guild of America nomination for Best Documentary Screenplay. Also a producer, Moore was handed PGA's Motion Picture Producer of the Year for Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures. Moore then directed, wrote, produced and narrated the documentary “Captain Mike Across America” (2007). He is currently working on a new documentary slated for a 2009 release.
PGA: Motion Picture Producer of the Year Award, Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures, “Sicko, 2008
Cannes Film Festival: FIPRESCI Prize - Competition, “Fahrenheit 9/11,” 2004
Cannes Film Festival: Golden Palm, “Fahrenheit 9/11,” 2004
Hollywood Film Festival: Hollywood Movie of the Year, “Fahrenheit 9/11,” 2004
International Documentary Association: Feature Documentaries, Fahrenheit 9/11,” 2004
Sarajevo Film Festival: Audience Award, “Fahrenheit 9/11,” 2004
Bodil: Best American Film, “Bowling for Columbine,” 2004
Kinema Junpo: Best Foreign Language Film Director, “Bowling for Columbine,” 2004
Turia Awards: Best Foreign Film, “Bowling for Columbine,” 2004
Gotham Awards: Filmmaker Award, 2004
Academy Award: Best Documentary - Features, “Bowling for Columbine,” 2003
César (France): Best Foreign Film, “Bowling for Columbine,” 2003
Independent Spirit: Best Documentary, “Bowling for Columbine,” 2003
Writers Guild of America: Best Original Screenplay, “Bowling for Columbine,” 2003
U.S. Comedy Arts Festival: Freedom of Speech Award, 2003
São Paulo International Film Festival: Audience Award - Best Documentary, “Bowling for Columbine,” 2002
Toronto International Film Festival: People's Choice Award (3rd place), “Bowling for Columbine,” 2002
Cannes Film Festival: 55th Anniversary Prize, “Bowling for Columbine,” 2002
Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival: Audience Award, “Bowling for Columbine,” 2002
Atlantic Film Festival: Audience Award, “Bowling for Columbine,” 2002
Bergen International Film Festival: Audience Award, “Bowling for Columbine,” 2002
Vancouver International Film Festival: Most Popular Film, “Bowling for Columbine,” 2002
San Sebastián International Film Festival: Adieence Award, “Bowling for Columbine,” 2002
Sudbury Cinéfest: Audience Award, “Bowling for Columbine,” 2002
Aspen Filmfest: Audience Favorite Documentary, “The Big One,” 1997
Denver International Film Festival: People's Choice Award - Documentary Film, “The Big One,”1997
Emmy: Outstanding Informational Series, “TV Nation,” 1995
PGA Golden Laurel: Nova Award - Most Promising Producer in Television, “TV Nation,” 1995
International Documentary Association Award, “Roger & Me,” 1990
Berlin International Film Festival: Peace Film Award - Honorable Mention, “Roger & Me,” 1989
Toronto International Film Festival: People's Choice Award, ”Roger & Me,” 1989
Vancouver International Film Festival: Most Popular Film, ”Roger & Me,” 1989