American superstar documentary-maker Michael Moore has invited a Kiwi colleague to his prestigious Traverse City film festival.
Slavko Martinov will this week be flown to the Michigan festival to show his film Propaganda, which became a viral internet sensation, receiving millions of views on YouTube after it was uploaded in July 2012, purporting to be a propaganda film created by the North Korean government then smuggled to the West.
The film contains a Korean voice-over with English translation, but it was later revealed the film was made in New Zealand during a nine-year period by a team led by Martinov. It has since been selected for film festivals in New Zealand, Europe, Australia and Hong Kong.
Martinov says the invitation from filmmaker and activist Moore, famous for works including Fahrenheit 9/11, Sicko and Bowling for Columbine, is a "big thrill for a documentary maker - a career highlight." As well as presenting his film, Martinov will be speaking in two panel discussions.
Martinov, who has previously lived and worked in the US, said there was a nervous moment when applying for his US visa, when a consul official rang him to ask if he had ever been to North Korea.
Martinov hasn't but was concerned Americans disliked the virulently anti-US themes within the mock documentary, which claims Westerners have been lied to by an alliance of politicians, business and media, and are trapped in meaningless lives of reality TV, grotesque over-eating and pointless materialism.
Martinov said he's not personally anti-American, but almost all the claims made in the documentary are factual, even if the presentation is extreme.
"There's a lot I admire about America and what America is founded on. Last time I was there, people couldn't be lovelier. My concern is American foreign policy, which is a disgrace."
The festival runs from July 30 to August 4. See traversecityfilmfestival.org.
- Sunday Star Times