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TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Madonna’s new film on the impoverished nation of Malawi has wowed another maker of documentaries: Michael Moore.
Moore said Thursday that Madonna, like himself a Michigan native, will appear for a screening of “I Am Because We Are” during the Traverse City Film Festival on Aug. 2.
“She’s sort of entered my realm,” Moore said. “When I saw it, I thought, ‘Wow, it’s like she’s been making these films for years.’ “
Madonna produced and narrated the documentary after traveling to Malawi, where she met the toddler David Banda. She and husband Guy Ritchie are adopting the child.
“I Am Because We Are” illustrates the poverty that children of the southern African country face, how the AIDS crisis is claiming lives and the conditions that cause disease and other misery there. But the film urges people to volunteer and tries to offer hope.
“She takes the viewer through a very personal journey and tries to connect us, living here in the U.S., giving us a window into the way it is for other people in the world,” Moore said. “You’re extremely moved when you watch it. You understand very clearly why she’s devoted so much of her life to the people of Malawi.”
Moore said he was “outraged” by the criticism Madonna received for her efforts to adopt David. Some children’s rights groups said it would be better to provide more resources so children could remain in their native countries. Others accused her of using her celebrity status to circumvent Malawian adoption laws, which she denied.
“As one who has seen what the yellow press can and does do, all of that was just one more reminder to me of just how dishonest so much of the media is in this country,” Moore said.
“I am very excited to come to Michigan to show my film,” Madonna said in an e-mail Friday. “The film is a labor of love, and I am happy that I can bring it home to my roots with the help of Michael.
“I am also honored that the film will be screening at this particular festival arranged by Michael as he is a genius and I am a huge fan.”
Moore, who won the Academy Award in 2002 for “Bowling for Columbine,” said he saw an early version of Madonna’s film in London while shooting scenes for his latest documentary, “Sicko.”
After watching the finished product about a month ago, he asked Madonna for permission to screen it during the festival in Traverse City, his adopted hometown about 250 miles northwest of Detroit. Moore established the festival in 2005 with local author Doug Stanton and photographer John Robert Williams.
“She said she’d be thrilled to come here and be part of the film festival,” Moore said. “We were pleasantly surprised.”
Madonna, born in Bay City and raised to the south near Detroit, recently released a new album, “Hard Candy,” and is preparing for a worldwide tour that begins in August. She’ll take a one-day break from rehearsals to visit Traverse City.
The film will be shown in a downtown theater that seats 540. After the film is shown, Madonna will take questions from the audience, Moore said.
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