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WORLD HOT SPOTS => Media Watch => Topic started by: Oshun_Auset on September 03, 2004, 04:14:00 PM

Title: Antiwar documentary blocked by Warner brothers
Post by: Oshun_Auset on September 03, 2004, 04:14:00 PM
(It is a shame this film met such a sad fate)

Warner Brothers has decided not to distribute the director David O. Russell's new antiwar documentary when it re-releases his 1999 Gulf War movie, "Three Kings," this fall, judging it "totally inappropriate" to do so in a political season, a studio spokeswoman said.

The heads of Warner Brothers made the decision this week after seeing the completed documentary, which features interviews with Iraqi refugees and veterans of the current war in Iraq.

"This came out to be a documentary that condemns, basically, war," said the spokeswoman, Barbara Brogliatti. "This is supposed to be a special edition of 'Three Kings,' not a polemic about war."

The fate of the completed documentary, which was supposed to be an add-on to the DVD and to be screened with it in theaters - is still uncertain, but the studio, which provided its $180,000 budget, said it was inclined to let Mr. Russell have it back. Mr. Russell, anticipating that outcome, said he would probably try to distribute it independently.

"It was definitely a surprise and a disappointment," he said in an interview Tuesday. "But they are being very gracious and letting me take it back."

The studio's decision reflects a heightened sensitivity by media companies over movies that may be construed as partisan. Sony recently backed out of a deal to distribute the DVD of "The Control Room," a documentary about the Arab news channel Al Jazeera.  The Canadian independent company Lions Gate will distribute it instead. Earlier this year the Walt Disney Company became part of a cultural firestorm when it declined to distribute Michael Moore's anti-Bush documentary, "Fahrenheit: 9/11," saying it was too political. The documentary became a hit, and the episode deepened a split between Disney and executives of its Miramax unit who backed the film.

With the talk of quickly giving Mr. Russell back his film, Warner Brothers appeared eager to avoid creating a similar controversy. But unlike Mr. Moore's film, the Russell documentary does not endorse or even mention either presidential candidate...

By SHARON WAXMAN, The New York Times