President Obama, Congress Invited to Free 'America' Movie Screening
President Barack Obama and hundreds of other powerful members of government were sent letters this week inviting them to a free screening of America, the docudrama from conservative filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza.
The letters are coming from a nonprofit organization called Movie to Movement, which helps to promote small, wholesome movies, many of which seem to have a Christian or conservative theme to them though the group is non-partisan.
Jason Jones, the group's founder and CEO, says he has budgeted $5,500 to pay for America tickets for the president, Vice President Joe Biden, as well as every member of Congress and the Supreme Court.
"I would like to invite you to join us in viewing a work that examines the public controversy that surrounds not America's leaders, but America itself — the nation, the polity and the ideals on which it is based," reads one of the 542 letters the group has mailed.
Jones says if an invitee isn't near a theater showing America, he'll arrange for delivery of a digital copy. The letter goes into detail about the content of the movie and even D'Souza's biography.
"D'Souza, an immigrant from India and unabashed American patriot, sets out to defend America's founding principles and her historical record of living up to them," reads the letter. "He addresses a series of radical critiques lodged by progressive academics and activists."
Gerald Molen, the Oscar-winning producer of America as well as D'Souza's previous movie, 2016: Obama's America, said he is supportive of the effort that Movie to Movement is making on behalf of the film.
"We want both conservatives and liberals to watch this movie, and it's our hope that it will start a national conversation about the meaning of America," Molen said.
Some lawmakers have already embraced the film. Republican Florida state Sen. Alan Hays, for example, has drafted a bill that, if passed, would mandate that students in that state's middle schools and high schools see the film unless their parents object. He plans to introduce his bill in November.
Some self-described progressives, though, are critical of the film. Media Matters for America, for example, called it "racially charged agitprop."
Lionsgate released America on June 27 and it has earned $14.2 million domestically thus far, making it the sixth-biggest political documentary in history, just ahead of Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story.
Movie to Movement says its purpose is to encourage Hollywood to make films that "promote a culture of life, love and beauty."