iF Magazine
March 15, 2000

Cult hero director Monte Hellman...is in town to receive a special award that climaxes the (ultra rare) showings of several of his films and a still photography exhibit. It should be the highlight of the night, but the crowd only applauds politely, saving their hand thunder for when director Michael Moore presents the Best Documentary Award. A surprise presenter, Moore explains, "I happen to be in your town, we were shooting your governor." The audience laughs at the idea of Moore chasing Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush...
...Moore, a staunch opponent to capital punishment, goes on to tell the audience that while governor of Texas George W. has greased 125 murderers, his baby brother Jeb, the governor of Florida, has only offed three. "Talk about your sibling rivalry," Moore laughs as the audience nearly busts a gut. "But I finally cornered him tonight," Moore says, "And he said, 'Behave yourself Michael, go get a real job.' And I thought, 'Oh yeah, like the one your DADDY got YOU!?' " The audience roars its approval as the kid next to me mutters, "I thought he was here to present an award." And present he finally does.
After working the crowd like a seasoned vet comedian to promote his Independent Film Channel cable show, he eventually announces the runners up (it's a tie, like most categories this evening) are JUST MELVIN (the searing abuse drama about three generations tormented by one old grandfather) and "The Ballad of Ramblin' Jack" (a warts-and-all-look at the legendary musician by his daughter Aiyana Elliot).
Then after a little confusion and more jokes (these Awards ARE fun, dammit) the first prize goes to "The Target Shoots First"...As the absentee director is bestowed with numerous gifts, Moore suddenly shouts, "What do the runner ups get?" When it's ascertained to be zilch, Moore adds magnamoniously, "Then we're giving them both $5,000 from the our foundation."
                                                        -- Paul Zimmerman

iF Magazine
March 17, 2000
South by Southwest 2000
...I catch "The Target Shoots First," the grand prize winner for Best Documentary Feature...Target won two prizes at Slamdance and concerns the two year adventure of Christopher Wilcha... who goes to work for The Columbia House...Wilcha was allowed amazing access to film his co-workers gossiping, fighting and even attending motivational retreats. Contrasting his own corporate coming of age with the suicide of Kurt Cobain (the footage is mostly from 1993)...I exit the Alamo entertained and disappointed. JUST, MELVIN, which tied for Best Doc runner up was the far superior film, and it's going to take a mess of Austin crawfish to make me forget.

DIRECTOR'S FILMS: GAMES PEOPLE PLAY: New York, GAMES PEOPLE PLAY: Hollywood, Telling Nicholas, Just, Melvin, TheWorkingGirl.com
Find out more about James Ronald Whitney's Productions at the Fire Island Films website
: www.FIFproductions.com
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