Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life

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Mike's Letter

January 7th, 2003 12:00 AM

The Latest News about "Bowling for Columbine" and "Stupid White Men"

I am David Schankula, the editor of While Mike is away for a few weeks, I thought I would bring you up to date on the latest news regarding "Bowling for Columbine" and "Stupid White Men."

"Bowling for Columbine" continues to roll on across the country in a way no one ever imagined. It has not only set the new all-time box office record for a documentary, it has more than DOUBLED that record.

Over one hundred film critics have named "Bowling for Columbine" one of the "10 Best Films of the Year," including Time magazine, Entertainment Weekly, the NY Post and the Associated Press. Papers like the San Francisco Bay Guardian and the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel have gone even further and picked it as the "Best Film of the Year."

In addition to this, the Online Film Critics Association has nominated the film as both "Best Documentary" and "Best Picture" of the year. The London Society of Film Critics has also nominated it as "Best Film."

The National Board of Review has given "Bowling for Columbine" its award for "Best Documentary of the Year," as have the Toronto Film Critics Association, the New York Society of Online Film Critics, the International Press Academy, and (our favorite) the Las Vegas Film Critics Association. The Independent Spirit Awards and the Broadcast Film Critics Association have also nominated it "Best Documentary of the Year."

As if all this weren't enough, Michael was named by the BBC as their #1 "Newsmaker of the Year" (obviously a slow year for the royals), and Entertainment Weekly here in the U.S. named him as one of their 12 "Entertainers of the Year" (this one has clearly gone to his head as we now can't get him to take off his top hat and stop singing show tunes around the office).

But most overwhelming were the results of a poll taken of over 2,000 documentary filmmakers around the U.S. and the world by the International Documentary Association. In this poll, "Bowling for Columbine" was named the "best documentary of all time" (and "Roger & Me" was ranked as #3).

I know Michael is very grateful for these recognitions, and all of us who worked on this movie for the past three years are honored by the response. Our only hope now is that the issues raised in the movie continue to be debated, discussed and acted upon.

Your mail to us over the past few months has been both powerful and moving (we're getting between a million and two million hits a day on our website). I'd like to share one letter we received from a teacher near Buffalo. Here it is:

"I want to tell you about what has proven to be one of the most rewarding experiences in my 30-year career as a public school teacher.

"I teach in a small town just south of Buffalo. After viewing 'Bowling for Columbine' with my husband, I decided that I simply had to take my Honors English class to see it. Watching it with them was an experience I'll never forget ? one of those crystal moments in teaching that all teachers long for. They cried openly during several scenes, especially the scene with 'What a Wonderful World' playing in the background. They gasped collectively at the statistics on gun related murders in the U.S. versus other countries. They cheered when you and the Columbine survivors succeeded in having ammunition taken off the shelves at K-Mart. And, by the end, they hated Charlton Heston and booed when they heard 'from my cold, dead hands' for the second time. They were especially impressed with the Marilyn Manson interview and were surprised at his eloquence and intelligence. As one student said, 'I guess you really can't tell what a person is like just by appearances.' And that is a mouthful for a high school kid! "I have no doubt that even the most conservative among them will rethink their positions on gun control, war, 'President' Bush, and the atrocities suffered by so many at the hands of our government. They were especially impressed by the idea that it is fear that runs the engine of capitalism -- something that had never occurred to them before. You have helped to create better citizens. You have helped to create better human beings. Yours truly, J.M., English Teacher, Angola, NY"

Thanks, J.M., and thanks to all of you for your support. You'll be hearing from Michael sometime in the next week.
David Schankula, editor,

P.S. "Stupid White Men," this Sunday, will be #7 on the New York Times bestseller list. It has now been on their list for 38 weeks. Last week it was #2 on the L.A. Times list, #2 in Canada, #4 in Australia, #4 in Germany and #1 in Great Britain. The book is now in its 40th printing and has been declared by Barnes & Noble and others as the biggest selling nonfiction hardcover for 2002.

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