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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 June, 2004, 08:41 GMT 09:41 UK
Moore's 9/11 debuts in Washington
Michael Moore in Washington
Michael Moore attended the red carpet premiere in Washington
Michael Moore's controversial political documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 has premiered in Washington.

An 800-strong, mostly Democratic, audience was invited to the preview in the US capital on Wednesday night.

Actress Sally Field joined Moore and numerous politicians at the private screening of the film, which criticises George Bush and the war in Iraq.

Meanwhile, the film's limited release in New York has broken single-day box office records.

Film prize

The caustic documentary grossed $49,000 (27,000) at the Loews Village 7 cinema, beating the theatre's previous record of $43,435 (24,000) for Men in Black in 1997.

Tom Ortenberg, president of Lions Gate Films Releasing, added it had taken more than $30,000 (16,500) at the Lincoln Plaza theatre.

The documentary, which won the prestigious Palme d'Or prize at the Cannes Film Festival last month, has caused a storm of controversy.

In it, Moore alleges connections between President George Bush and influential Saudi families, including the Bin Ladens.

He also alleges that the Bush administration was determined to invade Iraq following the 11 September attacks in 2001.

Ballot box

Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe told reporters at the Washington screening he thought the film would play an important role in the Presidential election.

He said: "This movie raises a lot of the issues that Americans are talking about, that George Bush has been asleep at the switch since he's been president."

Film-maker Moore said he hoped the film would encourage people to vote in November.

He said: "If this movie can inspire a few of that 50% that did not vote in this country to get back involved, to re-engage, then the movie will have accomplished something important."

Fahrenheit 9/11 is due to open on 868 screens across the US on Friday.


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