In what is perhaps any filmmaker's best-dream scenario, President Barack Obama has issued a public response to the movie "2016: Obama's America" through his White House team. Although the film is criticized on the president's website, co-producer Dinesh D'Souza welcomed the opportunity to talk about the movie's success at the box office even without much media attention – or an endorsement from Obama.
"I welcome Obama's critique of the film. He has probably figured out that he cannot ignore it any longer," said D'Souza in an interview published on Deadline.com. "Obama's response is a characteristic mix of name calling and false allegations. Some of the claims he makes refer to things that are not even in the film. Elsewhere Obama just gets it wrong."
Obama's "Truth Team" blog post last week with the headline, "'2016: Obama's America' is a deliberate distortion of President Obama's record and world view," includes digs against D'Souza.
"A self-proclaimed expert on the President, D'Souza bases the film around his own past works, which were previously described as 'the worst kind of smear journalism,' and riddled with 'lazy' errors," according to the president's website. "The result is what Variety calls a 'cavalcade of conspiracy theories, psycho-politico conjectures and incendiary labeling' and what the L.A. Times labels a 'badly disguised and overly long attack ad.'"
D'Souza told The Christian Post at the time of the film's release in late July that the film is broken down into two parts. "One looks backward into Obama's past and the other looks forward into what we can expect over the next four years. There's roughly equal time in the movie to both themes. The movie is also based on two books – my earlier book, The Roots of Obama's Rage (2010), and a new book called Obama's America. The earlier book looks back and the new book looks forward, and the movie combines both," he said.
A dispute over the movie's facts is nothing new for D'Souza, who last week suggested that The Associated Press, a not-for-profit cooperative newswire service owned by 1,500 U.S. newspapers, apologize for a fact check story on his movie.
In the interview with Deadline he answered the question as to how he responds to the claim the film is racist.
"There have been some factual attempts to puncture the film but those I think have not worked. So now we have the sleezeball attack," D'Souza said. "Basically an attempt to blacken my name and imply the film is some sort of a birther type film, which it most emphatically is not, or to suggest that there is some racial element in the film. Whereas in reality I go out of my way to diffuse the race issue to say this is not about race.
"What Obama is about, in my opinion, is he is a Global redistributionist. He's pursuing reparations but it's not racial reparations. It's global reparations for the sins and conquest of [colonialism]," he continued in his answer to Deadline. "So the film is manifestly not racial. Now it does explain that part of Obama's appeal is that he, you know, offers White America the certificate of racial absolution, if you will. That he makes people feel good about voting for him, as if by doing that they are somehow transcending America's racial past. … But that hardly makes the film a racial film. That's simply part of the film's intelligent analysis of what's going on out there."
The movie has earned more than $26.1 million as of Tuesday, making it the second-highest grossest political documentary ever. Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" is the highest earner, taking in $119.2 million in 2004.
"The box office success is a reaction to a much larger issue of the American public not feeling that they know their president after four years," John Sullivan, the film's co-writer and director told CP on Wednesday. "We continue to be humbled by the response the film has gotten. Just today we learned of two groups taking out their own newspaper ads encouraging people to see the film. It is this type of effort, where someone will spend their own money to promote '2016' that demonstrates this film is touching a deep chord in America."