Film Fest Focuses on the Right

Michael Moore (search) was a no-show at the first-ever conservative film festival held outside Dallas last weekend.

The liberal moviemaker's absence is not a surprise since the film that earned a two-minute standing ovation was the world premiere of a documentary titled, "Michael Moore Hates America."

There were 24 conservative-minded films screened at the three-day American Film Renaissance Festival (search) in the Dallas suburb of Addison, Texas. Movies included "George W. Bush: Faith in the White House," "DC 9/11: Time of Crisis" and "The Peace Commies," which addresses "subversive radicals behind the peace movement."

"We make no bones about the fact that we are a conservative film festival," said the festival's organizer Ellen Hubbard (search). "Do I think that only conservative films should be made? Absolutely not. But right now there is no other film festival out there that has films like we do."

Without a doubt the anti-Moore movie was the biggest draw at the festival. In it, director Michael Wilson (search) mocks Moore while traveling around the country showcasing regular people who are living their American dreams, all while trying to get an interview with Moore, which he never does.

"I just wanted to hold up his work and what he says — his body of work — against sort of the fabric of American life, against the experience of the people who you meet in the film ... and find out who was right and who was wrong," said Wilson.

Given Hollywood's mostly left-leaning products, some are happy the festival gave the right side of the aisle a little screen time.

"I think it's important for people who feel that they don't have a voice, um, have a place, a venue to represent that voice ... I mean that's why people go to Michael Moore movies," said Wilson.

But not everyone thinks that political films, whether they lean to the left or the right, should be seen as black and white.

"You would have to check a lot of facts to determine accuracy of, let's say, a 90-minute documentary, and the average citizen is not about to do that," said Dennis Simon, an associate professor of political science at Southern Methodist University.

And Simon pointed out that the conservative films may not be any more effective at swaying opinion than liberal films.

"It's a self-selected audience. Liberals are going to see 'Fahrenheit.' Conservatives will go to this film festival. The undecided voter is unlikely to be represented there," he said.

While Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11 (search)" is aimed at influencing the election, organizers of the American Film Renaissance Festival contend that they're not trying to influence voters — but they are trying to change popular culture.