Last week saw the release of "Police State," the sixth documentary feature by filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza.
Comparing the previous government-backed police states in Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, and Communist China to events unfolding seemingly daily in the U.S., "Police State" is a sprawling, often-shocking, and always informative movie any and all U.S. citizens — regardless of their political affiliation — need to see.
I was fortunate enough to be granted time to interview Mr. D’Souza this week on the heels of the virtual release of the film he hosted with co-producer Dan Bongino in Las Vegas. For information on how to view "Police State," visit www.policestatefilm.net.
Michael Clark: After a successful wide release for "2000 Mules," why no theatrical run for "Police State"?
Dinesh D’Souza: Actually, we’re following the exact same model. With "2000 Mules" we did 600-700 theater buyouts and sold tickets for two days of screenings which is what we did for "Police State."
It then streamed on three platforms and was released on DVD. It was then that independent theaters approached us for a second theatrical run and that could happen with "Police State" but we don’t know yet.
MC: What are the pros of docudrama storytelling?
DD: For me, the typical documentary is very unsatisfactory as a movie because it tends to be a bunch of interviews with slapped-on news clips, and don’t think that’s good enough to put in a theater.
There has to be movie elements to it; plot, character, storylines, a build-up, a climax, leaving people with a certain kind of emotion.
MC: In general, do you think your films exist in a vacuum?
DD: I think that we face an extraordinary set of obstacles that others – particularly on the left – do not.
We get cyber attacks on our website, something we’ve gotten used to.
Mainstream outlets like Wal-Mart and Amazon refuse to stock our DVDs which is exactly what is being discussed in "Police State."
MC: Was there anyone you wanted to appear in "Police State" that couldn’t or wouldn’t participate?
DD: No. I wanted two types of people for the film: the whistleblowers and informants who could trace the origins of the police state and ordinary citizens going about their lives, maybe participating in some civic activity that come face to face with the police state.
I think it was important because it’s not just about [President} Trump and the Jan. 6 defendants; it’s something that’s happening on a much larger scale.
MC: Can and should the Patriot Act and FISA courts be repealed?
DD: Yes, but it would take bipartisan cooperation to do it.
There are people on the left who don’t like the Patriot Act but the majority of the Democratic Party like having this kind of power. They like deploying it against the right and conversely, there are too many Republicans who say, "if we back the blue, we can’t really be against the FBI."
They think it’s inconsistent to be for cops and against the police state.
MC: Was Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., the logical compromise for speaker of the U.S. House?
DD: I’m happy we ended up with Johnson instead of some of the other names that surfaced only because there’s only one formula for the Republican Party and just one for Democrats. Johnson is ideologically strong but temperamentally genial and can work across the entire spectrum of the party.
MC: Are you surprised at the levels of anti-Semitism in the wake of the Israel-Hamas conflict?
DD: This is something that has been brewing for a while. The sad truth is that there are many people on the left — including Jewish progressives — who have cultivated this brew that has come to haunt them and our society.
It’s the general model that divides society into victims and victimizers; colonial oppressor and oppressed while viewing history, our society, and the world through that lens.
MC: You’ve been referred to as the conservative version of Michael Moore — what’s your reaction?
DD: I have mixed reactions. Usually, conservatives who say that laugh about it because they consider Moore to be a complete fool. Intellectually, that is the case.
The intellectual content of his films is laughable.
However, having said that Michael Moore is very shrewd about what makes a film.
He knows that film is ultimately entertainment.
Right there, that puts him ahead of 90% of other conservative filmmakers.
I think that if you make a good film you can include messaging but the main reason people watch movies is to be entertained.
Films need to be emotionally powerful and I think that Moore knows that. His form of entertainment is different than mine. Of the top 10 most successful political films, he has two or three and I have two or three.
MC: Do you know the subject of your next project?
DD: Not yet. I have a deal with Salem Media to do a movie next year — an election year — but I haven’t settled on a topic yet. It’s treacherously difficult because it’s almost a year out and timing is so important these days; you have to "surf on the wave."
To be able to anticipate where things will be in such a volatile environment. . . Trump could literally be running for election from jail. That kind of possibility is so outlandish in American history . . . I’m thinking hard about what my pathway will be for the next film.
Originally from Washington, D.C., Michael Clark has written for over 30 local and national film industry media outlets and is based in the Atlanta Top 10 media marketplace. He co-founded the Atlanta Film Critics Circle in 2017 and is a regular contributor to The Shannon Burke Show on floridamanradio.com. Over the last 25 years, Mr. Clark has written over 4,000 movie reviews and film-related articles. He is one of the few conservative U.S. movie critics. Read Michael Clark's Reports — More Here.
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