Tuesday, September 14, 2004


Yeah, I've blogged about it before, but it's still funny.


Dallas may have hosted the first conservative film festival, but the intellectual roots of the movement lie in, of all places, Little Rock, Ark. A few years back, two local law students, James and Ellen Hubbard, made a trek to the art house only to discover that Hollywood had left them behind. "We looked up and saw there were two choices," Ellen Hubbard said. "Frida, which is about a communist artist"—her voice dropped an octave on the word "communist"—"and Bowling for Columbine, Michael Moore's previous film. And we thought, Where are the films for mainstream America?" Hubbard, who is middle-aged, has golden hair that was coiffed in the preferred style of a Dallas socialite—raised high, then dramatically swept back over the head. "What better way to counteract the Michael Moores of America," she said, "than to throw a film festival?"


Whereas most directors saw conservative filmmaking as a part of the larger Republican jihad, Balsiger saw it as a way to make a fortune. He said his multimillion-dollar company, Grizzly Adams Productions, submits hundreds of ideas to the Gallup Organization for polling each year and then makes a film about whichever idea comes back with the highest score. "We knew dinosaurs were dead as a topic before anybody else did," Balsiger explained. Bush's religiosity tested well as a theme, so Balsiger gave Faith in the Whitehouse the green light, alongside titles like The Evidence for Heaven.

Balsiger wasn't a true believer, but after all the carping about liberal studio chieftains, his ruthless capitalism seemed refreshingly, well, conservative. "I think conservatives are always whining that everybody's against them, and that's not true," he said. He motioned toward a table with stacks of unsold DVDs. "Most of the product over there is at the wrong price point, $20. That's too high. I sold mine out in three hours, and I'm at $14.95." The conservatives may one day seize Hollywood, but first they'll have to figure out how to price their DVDs.

It's of course right for Balsiger to note wingnuts' bizarre self-pity, but he really draws blood by showing what incompetent businesspeople they are.

Update: It gets better, and so very witty.