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Michael Moore, born in 1954 in Flint, Michigan, is perhaps the most widely known documentary film maker of modern times. His film, Fahrenheit 9/11, became the highest grossing documentary of all time, and Bowling for Columbine won the Academy Award for Best Documentary.
Moore's documentaries and books have been widely publicized, but he has experience in other forms of media. At 22 years old he founded the alt. weekly magazine The Flint Voice, which expanded to cover all of Michigan, changing its name to The Michigan Voice. The magazine was shut down in 1986, when Moore became the editor for Mother Jones, and moved to California. After leaving Mother Jones, Moore worked for Ralph Nader, whom he supported in the 2000 presidential election. He did not support Nader in the 2004 election, going so far as to beg Nader not to run on Real Time with Bill Maher. Moore also founded the Traverse City Film Festival.
Throughout the 1990s, Moore worked on three different television shows; TV Nation, for the BBC, which aired from 1994 to 1995, a news magazine style show discussing topics most similar shows avoided; The Awful Truth, which ran on Bravo in the U.S. and Channel 4 in the UK from 1999 to 2000, satirizing the link between politicians and major corporations; and Michael Moore Live, which aired in 1999 only on Channel 4 in the UK and was similar to The Awful Truth, but had a live stunt and phone ins each week.
Moore is also a three-times best-selling author. His first book, Downsize This, published in 1996, examined the connection between politics and corporate crime in the United States. Stupid White Men, a political humor book criticizing American foreign and domestic policy, was published in 2001. His most recent best seller, Dude Where's My Country, was published in 2003, and examines the Bush family's links to the Bin Laden family and to the energy industry.
Moore is most famous for his films, including Roger and Me, a documentary about the aftermath of GM factory closings in Flint, Michigan, Canadian Bacon, his only non-documentary, a satire about a war between the US and Canada, The Big One, which follows his own book tour for Downsize This, Bowling for Columbine, addressing gun violence in the U.S. in the aftermath of the Columbine High School massacre, Fahrenheit 9/11, discussing the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, and Sicko, his most recent film, examining the U.S. health care system.
Although many of his films are illegally available online, Moore has said, multiple times, that he is unconcerned with the piracy in the film industry. In part because he disapproves of what he considers overly-restrictive copyright laws, and in part because, in his words, "I make these books and movies and t.v. shows because I want things to change, and so the more people who get to see them, the better." (July 04 YouTube video, quoted in "Moore: Pirate my film, no problem" by Iain S. Bruce in The Sunday Herald, 7/4/04).
A self-proclaimed liberal, Moore is, for many, a polarizing figure. Much of his work is extremely confrontational, and he has no bones about neutrality. As Anita Gates of the New York Times says in her review of his book Downsize This, "Mr. Moore has a real talent for cutting through the garbage, digging out the important points and serving them up in delightful, outrageous, sometimes irrefutable ways. He is at his absolute best when confronting his enemies head on, asking the questions everyone else would love to put directly to the people in charge."
However, Moore's antagonistic style has certainly led to financial success. Moore himself has said "I'm a multi-millionaire. You know why I'm a multi-millionaire? 'Cause multi-millions like what I do." (originally quoted on March 3, 2002 in the Arcata Eye).