Michael Moore's fiery 'Fahrenheit 11/9' takes on both sides of the aisle
Toronto — Filmmaker Michael Moore was joined by survivors of the Stoneman Douglas High School massacre and Flint water crisis whistleblower April Cook-Hawkins following the world premiere of his new film “Fahrenheit 11/9” at the Toronto International Film Festival on Thursday.
Moore received a standing ovation after the film, which played to a sold-out audience at the Ryerson Theatre at Toronto’s Ryerson University.
The movie is a pointed call to action to fix a broken political system. It is Moore’s spiritual sequel to “Fahrenheit 9/11,” his 2004 film, which took on the presidency of George W. Bush and is the highest grossing documentary film of all time.
Donald Trump is the subject of “11/9” — the film’s title is a reference to the wee hours of Nov. 9, 2016, when Trump was officially named victor of the U.S. presidential election — but he’s only one of Moore’s targets in the film, many of which will surprise both fans and critics of Moore's work.
In it, Moore is highly critical of the democratic establishment, Hillary Clinton, President Obama and the overall political system of the United States. He also takes aim at Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder; Flint’s water crisis is a major focus of the movie.
The doc mixes politics with humor in typical Moore fashion, arguing early on that Gwen Stefani is directly responsible for Trump’s presidency. (Stefani’s pay raise as a cast member on NBC’s “The Voice” led to Trump’s initial campaign announcement, Moore says, because he was trying to strong arm network execs into giving him more money for “The Apprentice.”)
The film, which opens in theaters Sept. 21, includes at least one sure-to-be-controversial moment, when Moore dubs in Trump’s voice over footage of Adolf Hitler speaking at a Nazi rally.
Early footage Moore shared of "Fahrenheit 11/9" when it was announced this summer showed him visiting Mar-a-Lago, but those scenes were cut from the final film.
Stoneman Douglas student David Hogg attempted to rally audience members after the screening. "Who’s ready to save America?" he asked the crowd, most of whom were Canadian.
From the stage, Moore told an anecdote about one of the Stoneman Douglas students — many of whom appear in the film — sharing with him that he feels their generation should be dubbed "The Mass Shooting Generation," since they were born into a post-Columbine world. An audience member suggested an alternate moniker: "The Generation of Hope."
"I'm against hope," Moore said. "What we need is the generation of action."
“Fahrenheit 11/9” will make its U.S. premiere in Flint at 7 p.m. Monday at the Whiting, located at the Flint Cultural Center.
There will be a conversation with Moore and Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, who helped expose the water crisis and author of "What the Eyes Don't See," following the film.
The following day, Moore will participate in a town hall special with MSNBC's Chris Hayes at Factory Two community makerspace, 129 North Grand Traverse in Flint.
Moore has a long and celebrated history with TIFF, dating back to "Roger & Me," which premiered at the festival 29 years ago.
He has been back with several movies since, including "The Big One" in 1997, "Bowling for Columbine" in 2002 and "Where to Invade Next" in 2015.