The 21 films represent a broad-ranging mix of movies that deal with the American experience, said filmmaker Michael Moore. There will be films that deal with the electoral process like the hilarious satires Bulworth (Warren Beatty) and Head of State (Chris Rock). There will also be films that will reflect the times in which we live and the candidates who are running.
The 21 films are:
1984: Director Michael Radford (Il Postino) filmed this brilliant adaptation of George Orwells famous 1949 dystopian novel in the time and place in which the book was set (London, April-June 1984). John Hurt stars as a man whose daily work in a future totalitarian society is rewriting history. Like all of his fellow citizens in Oceania, his entire life is under the constant surveillance of the Thought Police. His life takes a fatal turn when he is accosted by a fellow Outer Party worker Julia (Suzanna Hamilton) -- and they begin an illicit affair. When they are betrayed and arrested as thought criminals, Winston is taken to the Ministry of Love, where he is tortured and brainwashed by OBrien (Richard Burton) who teaches him all about doublethink, and shows him Room 101.
BEING THERE: The story of Chance (Peter Sellers), a simple-minded gardener who has lived his entire life in a Washington, D.C. townhouse, his only knowledge of the outside world coming through television. When his boss dies and he is forced to leave, he is hit by a car owned by one of the presidents closest advisors. While recovering, Chances simplistic statements about gardening are taken by the powerful people around him as pearls of deep wisdom regarding complex business and political matters that are clearly above his head -- but no one seems to notice.
BULWORTH: Warren Beatty co-wrote, co-produced, directed and starred in this story of Senator Jay Billington Bulworth, a suicidall-disillusioned liberal politician who, because of his bad investments, faces financial ruin. Not wanting to leave his family penniless, he puts a hit out on himself so that wife and children can collect the insurance money. With just two days left to live, and nothing to lose, the Senator starts speaking his mind freely at public events and in the presence of the C-SPAN film crew following his campaign.
CANADIAN BACON: Sixteen years ago a little-known documentary filmmaker wrote and directed his first and only fiction film, a political satire about an unpopular American president (Alan Alda) who, faced with a plummeting economy and the lowest approval rating ever, decides to win back the support of the American people. So he announces that he has intelligence about weapons of mass destruction being pointed at the United States -- by Canada!
THE CANDIDATE: In perhaps the greatest political satire of modern times, Robert Redford plays idealistic poverty lawyer Bill McKay, an honest man who gets drafted by the Democrats to run for the U.S. Senate. McKay is the odds-on favorite to lose against a seemingly unbeatable opponent, so he tries to make his candidacy about raising important issues that affect poor and working people.
CHILDREN OF MEN: It is 2027, and human beings can no longer procreate. In this profoundly dangerous and chaotic world, a former activist (Clive Owen) responds to a plea from his ex-wife (Julianne Moore) to help transport a miraculously pregnant woman (Claire-Hope Ashitey) to a sanctuary at sea, where her childs birth may help scientists save the future of humankind.
COMING HOME: Director Hal Ashby made one of the best films of the 1970s with Coming Home, a multi-Oscar winner that was the first American movie to deal with the struggles of returning Vietnam veterans. It centers on Sally Hyde (Jane Fonda), who volunteers in a veterans hospital when her ramrod-straight Marine captain husband (Bruce Dern) goes to war. In the hospital she encounters and eventually falls in love with a high school acquaintance, Luke Martin (Jon Voight), who came back from Vietnam paralyzed from the waist down.
DICK: Andrew Fleming (Hamlet 2) directed this hilarious parody of the Nixon White House, co-starring several cast members from Saturday Night Live and The Kids in the Hall. Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams are high school friends who wander off during a class trip to the White House, meet Richard Nixon, and land a job as the Presidents official dog walkers.
ELECTION: Matthew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon star in this extremely smart story of a high school class election in suburban Omaha, Nebraska.
FEED: Kevin Rafferty (The Atomic Cafe) and James Ridgeway compiled intercepted satellite footage from the 1992 United States presidential campaign to create this documentary, a comedy about running for president. Through the magic of modern technology, we get to see Jerry Brown, George Bush, Bill Clinton, and Ross Perot acting and behaving in ways they would never want you to see. This film is one of the funniest documentaries ever made.
THE GREEN BERETS: One of our two presidential candidates served in (and over) Vietnam. He has made Vietnam and the effect the war had on him central to campaign. So, for those too young to remember the war, we have three films in Election Fest 08 that deal with Vietnam. John Wayne co-directed and stars in this film, in which he plays hard-nosed, rough-and-ready Colonel Mike Kirby who heads a courageous bunch of tough-as-nails Green Berets determined to capture an important enemy general. They are accompanied by a skeptical reporter who soon becomes a gung-ho red-white-and-blue patriot as the Colonel and the others teach him why they must defeat the communists.
HEAD OF STATE: Chris Rock wrote, directed and starred in this comedy about anunlikely presidential candidacy. When the planes carrying the Democratic Partys presidential and vice presidential nominees crash into each other, the candidate-less party has little hope of defeating the sitting vice president. So they decide to pick a likeable but losing minority candidate to improve their chances of another politician taking the office in the next election.
HEARTS AND MINDS: Peter Davis directed this amazing, groundbreaking film about Vietnam, famously called the best documentary ever made by Michael Moore. When it won the Best Documentary Oscar in 1975, the director was booed off the stage for reading a telegram of peace wishes from the North Vietnamese. The films title was inspired by the mantra recited by those in charge of the Vietnam War: In order to win the war, we must win the hearts and minds of the people.
MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON: One of the most beloved films in Hollywood history, and one of the best films, period, director Frank Capra tells the story of one mans effect on the American government. Nominated for 11 Academy Awards, the film made James Stewart a major movie star. In Washington, the inexperienced Smith discovers just how corrupt the governmental process is, and soon the other senators seek to have him ruined. A perfect film for an imperfect time.
PRIMARY COLORS: Mike Nichols compulsively watchable movie is based on the anonymously written (yes, it was Joe Klein) roman à clef about Bill Clintons first presidential campaign. Americas topsy-turvy political process is viewed through the eyes of Henry Burton (Adrian Lester), an idealistic young man who is seduced into managing the presidential campaign of slick southern governor Jack Stanton (John Travolta, in the best performance of his career, brilliantly channeling his inner Clinton).
SEABISCUIT: Director Gary Ross (Pleasantville) film was nominated for seven Oscars in recounting the true story of Seabiscuit, a horse everyone said was a loser, a horse dismissed by racings wealthy elite in the 1930s as a joke. But the poor who were suffering during the Great Depression saw this horse as a symbol of their plight, and they cheered him on.
SHAMPOO: An adult comedy about the sex lives of the aimless and the rich, Shampoo is also a pointed commentary on the demise of 1960s idealism at the dawn of the Nixon era. Set in a 24-hour period on election day in 1968 -- the presidential election which would result in Richard Nixons ascension to the American presidency -- we meet George Roundy (Warren Beatty), a successful hairdresser whose charisma and tonsorial skill have provided him the perfect platform from which to meet, and bed, beautiful women, including his current girlfriend Jill (Goldie Hawn). But George is dissatisfied with his professional life, and dreams of setting up his own hairdressing business.
TO KILL A MOCKING BIRD: Many consider this to be the best American film ever made. Winner of four Academy Awards, To Kill a Mockingbird offers a tour-de-force performance by the great Gregory Peck. The movie is a portrayal of childhood innocence, racial prejudice, moral tolerance and dignified courage. Set in a small Alabama town, Attorney Atticus Finch (Oscar-winner Peck) risks his career by defending a black man who has been falsely accused of rape.
UNITED 93: Director Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Ultimatum, The Bourne Supremacy) directed a cast of mostly unknown actors in this potent and sobering, emotionally-packed, fact-based story about the passengers aboard doomed flight United 93, the fourth plane attacked by terrorists on September 11, 2001.
V FOR VENDETTA: Set in the not-so-distant future, director James McTeigue and writer/producers the Wachowski brothers (The Matrix) follow masked vigilante V (Hugo Weaving), a freedom fighter who uses terrorist tactics to fight against his totalitarian society while simultaneously pursuing his own personal vendetta for what he suffered due to a corporate/government experiment.
WUSA: Thirty years ahead of its time, WUSA is set in the world of right-wing talk radio. Paul Newman plays a cynical drifter who gets a job as an announcer for right-wing radio station, WUSA, in New Orleans. Although he is not a believer in the stations politics, he is content to parrot WUSAs reactionary editorial stance on the air.