The New York Times has a story up about documentary filmmakers Rick Caine and Debbie Melnyk, who decided to make a doc about filmmaker Michael Moore, and found out that he and his camp weren't quite as open to being examined by other filmmakers as they'd expected.

Their film, Manufacturing Dissent, premieres at the upcoming SXSW Film Festival, and, according to the NYT piece, "to say it sheds an unflattering light on Mr. Moore ... would be an understatement." The film examines alleged errors and omissions in Moore's films, including an interview Moore did with Roger Smith, then General Motors chairman, for his film Roger & Me -- which was largely about Moore's failed attempts to get an interview with Smith after GM shut down its plant in Flint, Michigan, Moore's hometown. The interview occured, say Melnyk and Caine, and was left on the cutting-room floor. The article delves into the considerable obstacles Caine and Melnyk faced in trying to get their film made, including being prevented from plugging into the sound board at Wayne State University when Moore was speaking there, being kicked out of a Kent State University appearance by Moore's sister, Anne, and being kicked out of Moore's film fest in Traverse City, Michigan.

I've never been a huge fan of Moore and his filmmaking, in spite of being pretty squarely on the same side of the political fence, but I've always respected his contribution to documentary filmmaking and his verve. I'm hoping I'll get a chance to see Manufacturing Dissent myself at some point (look for us to have a review of the film as part of our SXSW coverage), but I'm definitely disappointed that Moore wouldn't be more forthcoming with other documentary filmmakers turning the lens to him.

After all, if you make your living examining other people and their politics up close and personal, shouldn't you be open to others turning the tables on you? If there's nothing to hide, wouldn't Moore have benefited more from being completely open and cooperative with Melnyk and Caine and directly answering the questions raised by their film?

[ via Matt Dentler's Blog ]