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OREM - The show about Michael Moore will go on and its star will be there.
No, not the "Fahrenheit 9/11" moviemaker, but Orem investor Kay Anderson, who tried to stop Moore from speaking at Utah Valley State College and now wants out of Steven Greenstreet's documentary about the Bush-basher's pre-election Orem appearance.
Tonight's debut of Greenstreet's "This Divided State" at UVSC's Ragan Theater is expected to draw more than 400 people. Anderson will be there and so will the film footage of him that he wanted excised.
"I've seen the trailer," Anderson said Wednesday, "and I don't look very good. I gather this documentary will not have a big market among people in Utah County, but more than likely will be favorable to liberals who need more fodder for their agenda."
Anderson signed an agreement with Greenstreet allowing the 25-year-old filmmaker to shoot extensive footage of him and his wife, Janae, during the Moore flap. But the Orem resident revoked his consent and threatened to sue after learning the former Brigham Young University student had teamed up with UVSC Communications Department Chairman Phil Gordon, who Anderson says has a liberal bias.
The Andersons sent letters to Gordon, UVSC President William Sederburg and school attorneys, demanding that their "likeness and interviews" not be used in any UVSC communications projects. Anderson believes Greenstreet fibbed to him about Gordon's involvement.
Gordon declined to comment on Anderson. Greenstreet says he was not collaborating with Gordon when Anderson asked him in October about the faculty member's involvement. At any rate, he added, there would be no film without Anderson.
"With respect to community outrage, Anderson is the main character or vocalist for those who were opposed to Michael Moore," Greenstreet said.
When student leaders invited Moore, Greenstreet picked up his camera and headed to UVSC on a hunch things might get interesting. The story wound up grabbing headlines for weeks.
Greenstreet later became so engrossed in his film that he left BYU and his campus job there. Eventually, he merged his movie with a UVSC project being overseen by Gordon. By the time filming wrapped in December, nine cameras were rolling and Greenstreet's staff had mushroomed to 20, about 18 of them UVSC students.
Greenstreet - who now has his own company, Minority Films - estimates he shelled out about $50,000 in time and money to make "This Divided State."
"Luckily, I have two credit cards and had some money in the bank," said Greenstreet, who also enlisted a few financial backers. "It's almost a given that an independent filmmaker goes broke to make films he feels passionately about."
His documentary highlights most of the high points in the Moore dust-up, including Anderson offering a $25,000 cashier's check to UVSC student leaders if they rescinded their invitation to the moviemaker.
Another scene shows conservative Sean Hannity, who spoke at the school nine days before Moore to provide political balance, denying it cost nearly $50,000 to fly him out to Orem aboard a private jet. Newspaper headlines later reported otherwise.
Greenstreet says the documentary's most poignant moment is when UVSC Student Body Vice President Joe Vogel resigned under pressure after announcing plans to pen a book about Moore's appearance.
"It hits me in the gut every time [I see the film] when he resigns and loses his scholarship and friends," Greenstreet said. "That, to me, is a testament to what results from failed political discourse.
"Civil discourse failed miserably in the [Moore] case and is not well in the nation," he added. "Our culture needs to learn how to communicate better and have civil arguments instead of name-calling, throwing things and making threats."
Greenstreet hopes for some healing with Anderson as well. "He's not Darth Vader or a dictator," Greenstreet said. "He's a guy who tried to do what he feels is right."
Screening, speech today
Steven Greenstreet will speak about his film today at 10:30 a.m. at Utah Valley State College's Liberal Arts Building, Room 008. A special screening of his documentary, "This Divided State," is scheduled for tonight at 8 in the school's Ragan Theater. The screening already is filled to capacity.