Michael Moore, Carl Deal and Rob Birleson discuss Where To Invade Next at the London Press Conference
To show what the USA can learn from rest of the world, director Michael Moore playfully visits various nations in Europe and Africa as a one-man “invader” to take their ideas and practices for America. Whether it is Italy with its generous vacation time allotments, France with its gourmet school lunches, German with its industrial policy, Norway and its prison system, Tunisia and its strongly progressive women’s policy and Iceland and its strong female presence in government and business among others, Michael Moore discovers there is much that American should emulate.
After an absence of 6 years Michael Moore returns to our cinema screens with his new documentary Where To Invade Next. Bringing his own style of satirical observation of the American culture and foreign policy he embarks on a journey around Europe and slightly further a field ‘to take/steal cultural and social ideas’.
The London Press conference was covered by Raj Virdi on behalf of The Fan Carpet. In attendance was Michael Moore (Director, Producer, Narrator), Carl Deal (Producer) and Rob Birleson (Executive Producer).
This film was shot largely around Europe, but would you agree it is a film about American’s and for American’s?
Michael Moore: Are we still in Europe? (Laughingly). I’ve spent over 25 years pointing out everything that’s wrong with the United States, I not only not have to point it out any longer to my fellow Americans, most Americans get it! The rich have got a lot richer, everyone else is working a lot harder for less pay, less benefit and not much time off.
So I’m not going to make another issues film, because the issues are what’s wrong has at it’s core an economic system that’s unfair, unjust and undemocratic and until that changes I could make these films until the cows come home.
However while making the film ‘here’, because I’m still going to refer to the UK as Europe, we thought European’s would love this movie because it’s a reminder to you of the good things you have and to look at yourself from the outsiders eyes.
Yes I know there are problems, but still you came up with the idea of a National Health Service. No other country has this. Yes you have problems, quit whining and fix them, fix them!
Especially for the Brits this film can act as a reminder that you have done things that are really good and we for the life of us cannot understand why you want to be more like us. We look to you. Brits watching the film will wonder why you don’t come to the UK with this film. Michael Moore: It was a conscious and purposeful decision not to come to the UK. With all due respect, we wanted to come to the countries where we thought we could learn something. We didn’t feel there was anything left to learn here. You’d given up on yourselves to such a degree that you’d want to to put your 18 to 22 year olds into debt simply because they want to go to university, that you’d start charging for education. That’s just one example.
Why would you do this? This is a place that wants to put young adults in to debt, this is a place that wants to create a two-tier medical system, this is a place that’s elected a Conservative Government and now wants to leave the European Union.
I hope I’m not sounding offensive by this. It’s a plea for you to be the Britain that we know of and the good ideas you have had.
You’ve eluded to Brexit debate and you’re releasing this film in the fortnight running up to the referendum. Do you hope it has a role to play in that debate?
Michael Moore: No, It’s not my role to have any say in this debate, because I’m not British. So it would not be my right to tell you what to do he said, just before he told them what to do (laughingly). I will say this it does from the outside look strange.
First off, we can’t vote to leave North America, so how do you leave Europe? I know it’s not leaving Europe, it’s leaving the European Union but that’s like Texas voting to eave the United States!
Given the current meteoric rise in popularity of Donald Trump, what will you do if he’s elected? Will you move to Canada?
Michael Moore: Well, the Canadian’s know that millions of American’s will want to move there, so I think they’re starting to strengthen their immigration laws, to prevent us from leaving and make us deal with our problem.
I think there’s an excellent chance of Donald Trump being the next President of the United States, people need to take that very seriously. I said last August that he would be the Republican nominee, he knows something, he knows how to manipulate a dumbed down population, a population whose schools have been wrecked, the media is just insipid and stupid and doesn’t know all the facts about what’s going on, so the public is easily manipulated by someone like him, they’ll vote for him, he has record turnouts, the largest rallies, he supports a twenty first century version of fascism of marrying the state and capital together for the few in expense of the many and then blaming the other. The other is causing your problems, let’s build a wall, let’s ban Muslims.
I don’t believe that the majority of American’s agree with him, but it’s going to be down to who shows up to vote, that’s your problem too in a week and a half, because I’m guessing the majority of Brits don’t want to leave the European Union but on election day who’s going to be out there; the haters. So we are going to have the same problem.
What’s working for us is the math; 80% of the voters are women, blacks and 18 – 35 year olds and he’s pissed them all off.
Why did you choose the title for the Documentary? Did you screen it for Congress?
Michael Moore: The title was meant to throw people off, I like most filmmakers don’t want you to assume you know what I’m doing, I like to keep it fresh. But I knew people who think I was going to show them what the Pentagon is up to and where to invade next.
But part of it too was this idea that the United States have been this invading force for the past fifteen plus years and what if we were to ‘invade’ not in a violent way but for good reasons? Try and learn something and take that back home.
As far as planting the American flag, we are also Satiricalists, so obviously you get the satire of it.
We had a Congressional screening and I think we had at least nine of the members of Congress show up, but the place was full, so I guess they sent their staff. But yes, we did have a nice screening right inside the Capital Building, which was a first for me, I’ve never been allowed in there to show any of my films.
Carl Deal: I would just like to add that every member of Congress and every Senator is receiving a DVD of the film.
WHERE TO INVADE NEXT IS OUT NOW