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Idol Chatter

Idol Chatter

Dispatch from Michael Moore’s Film Festival

sicko_idol.jpgNine movies. Two panel discussions. Four days. It all adds up to one tired film reviewer–and the week’s not over yet!
I have spent most of this week attending the third annual Traverse City Film Festival –a.k.a. “The Film Festival Michael Moore Built”–here in Michigan. This year the festival has grown and improved enormously from last year and has had the best array of movies I could imagine. I am beginning to think Robert Redford should start worrying about his new competition.
But it’s not just the movies that make the festival fun for me. It’s the conversations I have had with the fellow movie buffs and one conversation in particular landed both Beliefnet and me in the press!

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I was sitting in the back of the theater during the opening festivities when I met Jodee Taylor, a writer for the regional newspaper, the Traverse City Record Eagle. I liked her immediately, maybe because she was impressed that I was writing for a national media outlet when I live … well … in semi-rural Michigan. ( I am sure I told her the reason I am allowed to do this is not because of my exceptional writing ability, but rather because of my exceptional editors).
She was also very empathetic when I explained to her that one or two, or maybe more, Idol Chatter readers were less than thrilled (ahem) with my scathing review of Moore’s doc “Sicko,” and agreed with me that there is a huge difference between Michael Moore the filmmaker and Michael Moore, the festival guy who is really helping our local economy by putting on this event.
But to my surprise, she was extremely surprised that I wrote for a religion and entertainment blog. In this day an age, in the post-“Passion” film era, I guess I assume most fellow journailsts have noticed the trend toward discussing the intersection of faith and pop culture in the media. So in between gossiping about “Borat” producer Larry Charles’s ugly orange shoes and actress Christine Lahti’s smokin’ hot outfit, we had a nice chat in which I further explained why Beliefnet considered some of the movies at the festival worthy of some spiritual reflection.
And guess what? She liked my answers to her questions so much she wrote up a really cute entry on her blog at the newspaper all about Beliefnet! Go check it out, and look for lots of my coverage on the movies from the festival next week here at Idol Chatter!

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