Delegates at the annual conference of the Recycling Council of Ontario (RCO) in Markham, Ontario were disappointed on May 5 and 6 when celebrity documentary filmmaker Michael Moore canceled a scheduled appearance. Moore’s appearance was part of the RCO’s amusing film theme; the informative and well-attended event was entitled “Lord of the Rings” and marketing material featured the recycling “Mobius loop”.
Moore canceled because he was in the middle of a very public dispute with Disney, which refused to distribute his new film about the war in Iraq, entitled “Fahrenheit 911” (a spoof of a similarly named sci-fi flick). The dispute occurred two weeks in advance of the film’s debut at the Cannes Film Festival.
Instead of Bowling for Columbine or Roger and Me, RCO delegates perhaps thought they were living out a real-life version of the movie “Waiting for Guffman,” a mockumentary written and directed by Christopher Guest (of Spinal Tap fame). In that movie an aspiring director convinces a local theatre troupe in a tiny American town that if they put on a great play, famous New York Broadway critic “Guffman” will attend the premiere, give them a great review and get them started on the road to Broadway, wealth and fame. After much hectic preparation, dreaming and rehearsals, Guffman does not show up.
Eventually Moore spoke to the crowd via telephone and loudspeaker on the second day of the conference. For his fans it must have sounded like the voice of God booming down in the auditorium. Amid some quite funny deprecating remarks about himself and his country, Moore made an impassioned speech asking Canadians to set an example for America about environmental protection. He mentioned he has noticed many trucks with Ontario license plates hauling waste to his native Michigan, which he likened to dumping waste in an internal Third World country. (He said he nevertheless enjoyed the irony of Canadians “dumping their crap on America for a change”).
When asked if he would agree to speak at an RCO fundraiser later this year, Moore replied, “Given that I grew up in a Catholic family, I’m feeling so guilty right now about not making it up there that I’d agree to just about anything right now.”
Visit RCO at www.rco.on.ca