The Unknown Michael Moore Takes on General Motors in “Roger & Me”

Michael Moore watched as General Motors systemically pulled out of Flint, Michigan, his hometown, and left the city to rot. A journalist who founded the Flint Voice, later the Michigan Voice, an aggressive counter-culture newspaper, Moore was not going to take it lying down. So he went to a press conference and asked GM’s president how many jobs would be ultimately be lost and what the company’s plans were for Flint. The resulting corporate doubletalk would be juxtaposed against a narrative of corporate responsibility in Roger & Me. While Flint led the nation in unemployment in 1987 and was second in violent crime, by 1989, when the documentary debuted, the city was in the midst of a remarkable turnaround, with unemployment halved, crime down, and GM actually contributing to redevelopment. The film’s narrative was a blessing and curse at that point, helping shine international light on a city still struggling to find a future, and, more importantly, a dialogue about what Rust Belt companies owe their factory towns when the boom days end. However, the national perception of Flint went in the tank. Roger & Me turned Moore into a superstar and he has gone on to have one of the most successful documentarian careers of all time, always with his trademark anti-authority stance.

Flint: An oral history of ‘Roger & Me’ after 25 years

MLive.com, 12.3.14

“An Inconvenient Truth” (2006)

Al Gore’s famous slide show on climate change started in the 1980s when he was still the junior senator from Tennessee. Director Davis Guggenheim saw the updated presentation in 2004 and immediately knew it had to be made into a film. No one believed him, including Gore, but his persistence paid off as the $1.1M documentary made over $50M, won the Oscar for best feature documentary, and brought the alarming scientific data in front of millions of eyes.

‘An Inconvenient Truth,’ 10 Years Later: Al Gore, Jeff Skoll and More Dish in THR’s Oral History

HollywoodReporter.com, 5.19.16