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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Oscar-winning filmmaker Michael Moore has begun work on a "searing and provocative" follow-up to his 2004 political documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11," with plans to release it next year, producers said on Tuesday.
The as-yet untitled movie is being co-financed and distributed by two small studios -- Overture Films, a subsidiary of John Malone's Liberty Media Corp, and Paramount Vantage, an art-house label of Viacom Inc's Paramount Pictures.
Moore, the writer and director, began work on the project in recent months and agreed to a spring 2009 commercial release, deliberately choosing to launch the movie after this fall's U.S. presidential election, said Overture's chief operating officer, Danny Rosett.
In keeping with Moore's penchant for secrecy surrounding his projects, the studios divulged few details of his latest work except to describe it as "a searing and provocative follow-up" to "Fahrenheit 9/11."
That film, a scathing critique of President George W. Bush and his decision to go to war in Iraq, grossed $119 million at the U.S. box office to become the most commercially successful political documentary of all time.
Rosett said Moore's focus in his new film is a broader look at the United States' position as an industrialized nation and world power since the attacks of September 11, 2001.
"He intends to examine how America's role in the world has changed over the last eight years," Rosett said, adding that Moore did not want the film to be seen as a "politically motivated piece."
"That's why I think he felt strongly about not having it come out before the elections," he told Reuters.
By contrast, "Fahrenheit 9/11" was released months before the 2004 presidential election, with Moore saying then that he hoped it would help galvanize the U.S. electorate to support Bush's Democratic opponent, John Kerry.
Bush won election to a second term, but Moore later said he and other politically active show business figures had helped spare Democrats an even bigger defeat.
Rosett said Moore's new film would be similar in style to his previous works, blending archival footage, humor, research and segments featuring Moore himself.
Moore followed the same format in "Fahrenheit 9/11," as well as in last year's critique of the U.S. health care system, "Sicko," and his Oscar-winning 2002 documentary about America's gun culture, "Bowling for Columbine."
Overture Films will release Moore's new movie in the United States, and Paramount Vantage will offer it for sale to international distributors this week at the Cannes film market, where Moore is set to make an appearance, the studios said.