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First-time filmmaker takes on U.N.

Director Ami Horowitz movie 'U.N. Me.'

Director Ami Horowitz in the movie "U.N. Me."

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Updated: July 6, 2012 9:25AM

Ami Horowitz has angst about, of all things, the United Nations, and he wants to unite filmgoers in his cause.

“I grew up with a romantic notion about the U.N. as an organization to stop genocide and advance humankind. It’s so not the case, and that knowledge blew me away.”

The first-time filmmaker, who previously worked as an investment banker, directed “U.N. Me,” opening Friday at AMC River East and available on-demand. “After making this film,” he says, “I’ve become even more pessimistic about the United Nations.”

What is his chief concern? “As human beings, we’re better off now than we ever were in terms of having food and medicines. But we’re not better off in our security,” Horowitz says. “That’s where the U.N. fails. More people have died in the 20th century after the creation of the U.N. than before, and that includes in WWI and WWII.”

“Look at what happened in the Soviet Union and the Sudan. What has been done? Nothing. The U.N. does do some good when it comes to the large distribution of supplies for humanitarian issues, but there is so much war now.”

A writer for the National Review and the Weekly Standard, Horowitz also gripes about the U.N.’s failure to define terrorism. “It’s not that they can’t open a dictionary and figure it out. They don’t want to define it. Once they define it, they will have to start prosecuting some of their own members.”

Actors including George Clooney, Michael Douglas and Angelina Jolie have used their star power to draw attention to U.N. projects, and Horowitz has no beef with them.

“I think it sheds a good light on an issue to have Clooney or Angelina Jolie pay a visit. I hear, ‘Oh, they’re actors. What do they know?’ But I say, ‘What does a politician know? They’re just people, too.’ If anything can shed good light on an issue than it’s worthwhile.”

His film began while watching another documentary. “I was watching Michael Moore’s ‘Bowling for Columbine’ and had an epiphany and started thinking about the U.N. My first emotion was I felt infuriated. Then I felt small and powerless,” he says.

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