Morgan Spurlock, acclaimed director and producer of multiple documentary films, including “Super Size Me” and “Where in the World is Osama bin Laden?,” discussed his filmmaking experiences at Union South Monday as part of the Wisconsin Union Directorate Distinguished Lecture Series.
Spurlock gave an energetic 90-minute lecture that traced the process behind creating his 2011 product placement documentary “POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.”
He said he aimed to create a film about product placement, marketing and advertising funded entirely by product placement, marketing and advertising, and in the process he explored the inner workings of the nature of revenue in filmmaking.
This portion of the speech had the audience laughing with anecdotes about Spurlock’s off-the-wall struggles dealing with companies from Mini Cooper to Mane and Tail shampoo, but Spurlock used it to highlight a central point about his approach to filmmaking.
“We were trying to push the envelope of what we could pull off with this film that would be smart, that would be funny, but at the same point that would have a point, and I think we did a great job of that,” Spurlock said.
Later in the lecture, Spurlock answered questions about his best-known work, 2004 McDonald’s health docudrama “Super Size Me.”
Spurlock said he created “Super Size Me” with a budget of $65,000 and a crew of 40 people, all of whom worked for free.
The film went on to achieve Sundance success and grossed $28 million worldwide, though according to Spurlock much of the film’s success lay in its cultural impact.
“[It] created such a raw, visceral reaction in people,” Spurlock said. “It created such a dialogue that was amazing … it’s really all on you to decide how to interpret that film.”
Spurlock’s next project will be a nonfiction CNN series called “Inside Man,” which will explore unseen sectors of American life and will premiere April 2.