In case you doubted the power that movies can have over people, this story about a filmmaker known as Sam Bacile is a startling reminder. The part-time real estate developer recently created a low-budget ($5 million) film — in English and Arabic-dubbed — which screened "once, to a mostly empty theater in Hollywood earlier this year." Now that we've painted a picture for you about the anti-Muslim movie that website BoingBoing describes as "Birth of a Nation meets Bed Intruder," brace yourself for the horrible news that the Associated Press just delivered:
"Speaking by phone Tuesday from an undisclosed location, writer and director Sam Bacile remained defiant, saying Islam is a cancer and that the 56 year old intended his film to be a provocative political statement condemning the religion. Protesters angered over Bacile’s film opened fire on and burned down the U.S. consulate in the Eastern Libyan city of Benghazi. Libyan officials said Wednesday that Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed Tuesday night when he and a group of embassy employees went to the consulate to try to evacuate staff as the building came under attack by a mob firing machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades."
How did the conservative Muslims get to see a film that has only screened once? They spotted Innocence of Muslims' crappy trailer on YouTube, which clearly attacks Islam's prophet Muhammad. As AP describes it, "The 14-minute trailer… shows an amateur cast performing a wooden dialogue of insults disguised as revelations about Muhammad, whose obedient followers are presented as a cadre of goons… It depicts Muhammad as a feckless philanderer who approved of child sexual abuse, among other overtly insulting claims that have caused outrage."
Bacile has since gone into hiding and blames the attacks on lax security. "I feel the security system (at the embassies) is no good,” said Bacile. “America should do something to change it." Friends and collaborators warned Bacile about the backlash, calling him the next Theo van Gogh, who was brutally and publicly assassinated for a film that attackers believed sexualized and insulted Muslim women. "This is a political movie. The U.S. lost a lot of money and a lot of people in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but we’re fighting with ideas," Bacile emphasized.
Is the filmmaker's D-grade feature worth possibly his life and that of his family? Watch it below, and let us know what you think.