AOL logs on ‘Dissent’

Website streams Moore-bashing documentary

Some serious Michael Moore bashing will turn up this week on AOL’s True Stories website thanks to 40 minutes of excerpts from the documentary “Manufacturing Dissent.”

Web users will be able to stream the digital video at no extra cost.

Debbie Melnyk and Rick Caine, creator-producers of the docu, describe themselves as progressive liberals who started out as admirers of Moore’s work. But two years of filming ended up documenting the thesis that Moore manipulates his movies to favor an ingrained left-wing ideology, leaving himself open to the charge of dishonest writing and editing.

“When I saw ‘Manufacturing Dissent’ at the South by Southwest Film Festival,” said Stephanie Sharis, director of creative development for AOL, “I felt it was saying some compelling things that would resonate with our audience.”

AOL’s True Stories website is home to dozens of feature-length docus both for free streaming video and for downloading to portable media players (at an average retail price of $9.99).

Sam Mandel, chief operating officer of Liberation Entertainment, the distributor of the docu, said the AOL deal “will help us to maximize the DVD value. AOL is going to give us lots of online promotion.” Liberation will release the DVD on Nov. 6.

Since AOL is offering the docu for free, Sharis said the company will make its money “by splicing adds into the video.” She said the movie is so provocative that it will generate “plenty of blogs and comments on message boards,” which will drive even more people to seek it out.

In addition to releasing the docu to AOL True Stories and on DVD, Matt Kennedy, Liberation’s director of marketing, said “Manufacturing Dissent” will play at the Roxy theater in San Francisco for one week (Oct. 12-18).

Liberation, he added, is counting on the movie’s exhibition on AOL to wake up more movie theaters to the prospect of booking the picture.

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