U.N. Me is a documentary film about the United Nations by first-time filmmakers Ami Horowitz and Matthew Groff, which premiered at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam in November 2009.
The documentary – or "docutainment" according to Horowitz – which began production in 2006, is a critique that depicts the United Nations as an organization that has drifted from its founding principles to the point where it now "enables evil and sows global chaos." The film follows Horowitz and Groff as they travel and look to expose the numerous scandals and cases of abuse of the U.N. Through interviews with involved parties and archived footage, they provide a look into events such as a shooting that has gone forgotten, where UN soldiers opened fire on unarmed protestors and the “Oil-for-Food” program. Also featured is evidence of the use of UN funds and equipment to support terrorist activity through complacency or complicity, including video footage of insurgents loading assault rifles and RPGs into a UN vehicle to make an escape.
Horowitz is a former investment banker who has written for the Huffington Post, the National Review and the Weekly Standard; Matthew Groff has been a post-production supervisor and assistant producer.
Horowitz cites the idea for the film coming from being upset with the unrest in Rwanda and the lack of involvement from the United Nations. While watching Bowling for Columbine one Saturday night, he recalls being compelled to take on a project to "expose elements of corruption and ineptitude of the U.N." Horowitz told Brian Lamb on C-SPAN that “within two weeks” of seeing Moore's film, “I had quit my job [at Lehman Brothers] and started raising money to make the [movie].”
In addition to admiring Michael Moore's documentary style, Horowitz has confessed to being influenced by Sacha Baron Cohen's interviewing technique, and has said that he "was so enamored with" both Moore's and Baron Cohen's approaches to filmmaking that he "hired much of their teams." Writers from The Daily Show, The Onion, and from Michael Moore's films contributed to the documentary.
Horowitz has said that some people at the UN “actively want to move the world in a bad direction” while others “move around in a moral fog." As an example of UN bureaucrats' “foggy moral vision” he cites Kofi Annan's comment, apropos of Rwanda, that “the UN must stay impartial even in the face of genocide.”
In another segment, about the organization's failure to stop the killings in Darfur, Horowitz asks Sudan’s UN ambassador why his country stones gays after one sexual act but lesbians after four. “'No, no, no,' the ambassador corrects him. 'Woman, if she is married, she will be stoned immediately.'”
In his review, The New York Times' Neil Genzlinger wrote that it is "a sassy documentary that suggests the United Nations is doing more harm than good".
Neil Genzlinger of The New York Times calls U.N. Me "a sassy documentary that suggests the United Nations is doing more harm than good", saying "Mr. Horowitz, the on-camera gadfly, finds ways to work wit into decidedly unpleasant subject matter."
The New York Daily News described U.N. Me as a "Michael Moore-style exposé of the United Nations" and singled out a scene in which co-director Horowitz wandered through the halls of the UN building "searching for someone actually working at their desk." Some critics, however, were not entirely impressed by Horowitz's attempts to emulate Michael Moore's style: "Covering a lot of ground in colorful, pacey fashion, the docu is nonetheless somewhat compromised itself by co-director Ami Horowitz's insistence on playing the Michael Moore/Morgan Spurlock role of onscreen provocateur...These japes only do a disservice to the film's many serious allegations."
Brian Brooks, the editor of IndieWire, said "I have to say, this is one of those rare moments when a film seriously has challenged my personal view" and called the movie "funny and engaging". Matthew Russel Lee of the Inner City Press was shocked to see that Horowitz was able to enter the Security Council. Horowitz has noted that while both conservatives and liberals in the U.S. responded enthusiastically to the film, “Europeans generally are particularly hostile to the movie” because they are put off by “the idea of a moral high ground” and consider “preaching against a particular ideology, for instance radical Islam, is dubious, possibly even racist.”
Awards and honors
U.N. Me won the "Best Documentary" award at the 2010 New Hampshire Film Festival
- IMDB Release dates
- Presenter: Brian Lamb (2012-08-14). "Q&A with Ami Horowitz". Q&A. 05:53 minutes in. C-Span.
- "Ami Horowitz" bio on the Huffington Post website
- Epoch Times Staff "Interview with 'U.N. Me' Filmmaker Ami Horowitz; U.N. — A metaphor for moral bankruptcy?" Epoch Times (February 21, 2009) Archived August 28, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Give up the day job" on the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam website (November 28, 2010) Archived December 27, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
- Lee, Matthew Russel. "Satiric Film About UN Triggers Question, Who Let Its Makers In?" Inner City Press (November 21, 2008)
- "Our Team" on the U.N. Me official website Archived July 17, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
- Ami Horowitz on Internet Movie Database
- Matthew Groff on Internet Movie Database
- "Ami Horowitz Director, "U.N. Me" Documentary". Q & A. Sep 2, 2012.
- Wessamore, WE (May 30, 2012). "An Interview With Ami Horowitz, Director of the Upcoming Documentary, "U.N. Me"". IOVN.
- Holt, Kelly (11 October 2012). "An Interview with Ami Horowitz, the Producer of "U.N. Me"". The New American. The New American. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
- Harris, Ben (May 31, 2012). "Inspired by Michael Moore, pro-Israel filmmaker releases Borat-style attack on UN". Times of Israel.
- "U.N. Me - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes". rottentomatoes.com. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
- Genzlinger, Neil. "Eleanor Roosevelt Would Be Appalled". Retrieved 5 October 2012.
- "A-Rod flirting with trouble". New York Daily News. 16 November 2008. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
- Harvey, Dennis (2012-06-01). "U.N. Me". Variety.com. Retrieved 2012-09-03.
- Brooks, Brian. "Sex, Money & Consensus: New Doc Pounds United Nations". Indie Wire.
- New Hampshire Film Festival "Congratulations to the 10th Annual NHFF Winners" (October 18, 2010)