Bigfork resident and Oscar-winning producer Gerald “Jerry” Molen said being turned away from speaking to students at Ronan High School ended up generating considerable publicity for his upcoming film, “Obama’s America 2016.”
“The little thing from Ronan was a gift from God, in a way,” he told more than 100 people at a Pachyderm Club meeting Friday in Kalispell. “People have tied it to 2016 ... It’s all good. As long as we keep promoting this, all the better.”
Molen, who is known for his conservative views, was invited to speak to students in Ronan but was turned away at the last minute by the school’s principal because of those views, according to Molen.
The principal later said that the school typically gives parents notice before hearing from a potentially controversial speaker, giving them an opportunity for their children not to attend. But Molen had planned an apolitical, inspirational talk, and he says the principal never inquired about the content of his speech.
The story grabbed national attention, and with it attention for “2016,” which will first be screened in Houston on July 9, then shown more widely starting July 29. Molen said he plans for it to initially reach at least 400 theaters nationwide.
Molen made clear the main purpose of the film: to motivate voters to defeat President Barack Obama in November.
“Let’s hope that our film serves in a small but significant way to sound the alarm bells,” said Molen, who produced the Oscar-winning “Schindler’s List” and “Rain Man” as well as “Jurassic Park.”
He said that “2016,” based on “The Roots of Obama’s Rage,” a book by author and speaker Dinesh D’Souza, relies largely on Obama’s own words to describe the president’s world view and his vision for the country.
To Molen, Obama “is pursuing decline” on multiple fronts, driving the country toward big government socialism.
But Molen said great care was taken in the film to avoid hyperbole, misstatements and exaggeration — mainly because it will be scrutinized by what he considers to be a hostile media.
Asked if it has any conspiracy elements, Molen said, “We’ve been very careful to stay away from conspiracy theories.”
He said “2016” is a film that is financed outside of Hollywood sources, including supporters who attended a convention sponsored by the Koch family, well-known and wealthy conservative supporters.
“We haven’t gone to Hollywood because we knew we wouldn’t get any support,” he said.
Molen urged the local GOP crowd to be united for the upcoming election. Those who aren’t satisfied with Republican challenger Mitt Romney and choose not to vote, or those who support a third-party candidate, or those who choose a candidate who lost in the primary elections all will be giving “a vote for Obama,” he said.
“We need to unite behind Mr. Romney and the other candidates who won in the primary process,” Molen said.
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Reporter Jim Mann may be reached at 758-4407 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.