CATEGORIES Documentary, Independent, Casting, Sundance, Michael Moore, Cinematical Indie, Sundance Film Festival, CinematicalI've become something of a Nick Broomfield junky lately. Thanks to Michael Moore, I had otherwise become averse to documentary filmmakers who appear in their work, but Broomfield has charmed me unlike anyone else (save for maybe Ross McElwee), and so I make an exception for his work. Years ago, when Jon Ronson discussed these filmmakers, whom he calls "Les Nouvelles Égotistes" in Sight and Sound, he called this charm "faux-naïfery," but regardless of how genuine Broomfield is, he is always entertaining and he is always a curious and primarily objective journalist. Comparatively, he is more focused than McElwee and less rabble rousing than Moore. The fact that Broomfield's new doc, Ghosts, has been picked to screen at Sundance in January, has me very sorry that I won't be making it to the festival this year.
My appreciation for Broomfield may fall some in the future, though, if news of his next project has any validity to it. The North County Times has mentioned a casting call for a film being credited to Broomfield to be made about the Iraq War experience. This call is for members or veterans of any military branch who served in Iraq, and will be held in San Diego this Saturday and in Yuma, Arizona, this Sunday. Aside from my confusion over the story's reference to Broomfield as being "the maker of Jarhead and Fast and the Furious 3" and my slight problem with the use of the masculine term "servicemen", I have a major issue with the project as it is described. I don't mean my usual issue with the over-abundance of Iraq War vet docs being made, I mean some things stated in a telephone recording that I listened to after calling the film's casting hotline. An unprofessional-sounding woman stumbles through the recording and eventually gets to the point that the production is looking for real vets rather than actors because of a desire for improvisation based on real accounts. Oh, and she says that the film is scripted and that those picked for the film will be paid.
None of the information that I have found about this "documentary" seems to technically be descriptive of a non-fiction film. Does this mean that we should question all of Broomfield's previous films, which include Kurt & Coutney, Biggie and Tupac and two docs about Aileen Wuornos? Sure, you could say that no documentary should be taken as truth, but there is a good line between disbelief and distrust.
I am still waiting to hear from Broomfield's people to see if they confirm or deny this unfortunate report. Let's hope they can explain what this is all about.