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Oscar-winning doc maker Michael Moore on Thursday teased the world premiere of his latest film, Where to Invade Next, by having a representative hand out 40 free tickets to fans — and pre-alerted media — at the Toronto Film Festival.
The publicity stunt came hours before Moore’s U.S. military satire debuted a stone’s throw away at the Princess of Wales Theater to help kick off the ten-day festival. The Oscar-winning doc maker disappointed fans by not showing up outside Bell Lightbox on King Street at 6 p.m., as earlier flagged on Twitter.
But Jason Pollock, a co-founder along with Moore of the Traverse City Film Festival, greeted fans lining up outside the festival’s headquarters with one free ticket each.
“We want to make sure his [Moore’s] real fans who didn’t have a chance to buy a ticket get to see the film,” Pollock told The Hollywood Reporter before staging the media stunt.
Toronto fest organizers were on hand for the media stunt, and expressed relief that Moore didn’t personally take part to avoid a “mob scene,” according to one programmer.
Moore earlier in the day took to Twitter to announce the free ticket giveaway. “Toronto fans — My 9:30 premiere is sold out. If u lost out, I have 40 to give away! Come to front of Lightbox @ 6pm 2day & we’ll give u free 1,” he announced in a tweet.
Handing out free stuff followed Moore arriving in Toronto having done his very best to keep his film under wraps. “I don’t want to give anything away about the film. The truth will be revealed tonight at 9:30 p.m.,” Pollock said, citing the Princess of Wales Theater premiere Thursday night.
Moore first unveiled the project in July after shooting Where to Invade Next internationally in surprising secrecy. The film, which Moore wrote and directs, is produced by Moore, Tia Lessin and Carl Deal.
Where to Invade Next reteams the filmmaker with a host of creatives from earlier documentaries, including cinematographers Richard Rowley (Dirty Wars) and Jayme Roy, who worked on Capitalism: A Love Story and Roseanne for President.
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