Sunday, October 14, 2007

'Mr. Schneider' comes to New Orleans to beat up Washington

NEW ORLEANS -- My favorite conversation so far has been with documentary filmmaker Jonathan Neil Schneider (the bald dude), who is screening "Mr. Schneider Goes to Washington" today at the Prytania Theatre. It's a send-up of campaign financing, lobbyists, and political influence.

This is Schneider's first film festival, and he made his film after becoming sick of his own political apathy. After producing "America's Next Top Model" for four seasons, he decided to throw his producing muscle into pushing for change.

Schneider's decision to bring his doc to New Orleans was simple. "Can you name another city that has been more damaged by the ineffectiveness -- I'm trying to be nice about it -- and the corruptive influences of the lobbyists?" he said. Hopefully he'll find an engaging audience tonight. What's perhaps of second-most importance to filmmakers at festivals -- behind getting a distributor -- is meeting like-minded artists who've thrown themselves into works with limited distribution potential.

"It's people who are passionate about their issues and doing what they can," Schneider said. "You typically find artists at the forefront of the movement. ... This has been the best experience of my life."

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