January 02, 2002 01:05 PM

Who says this is a kinder, gentler nation after Sept. 11? A new shock film that depicts the assassination of Microsoft CEO Bill Gates is set to debut at the alternative film festival Slamdance in Park City, Utah, on Jan. 13, reports the Los Angeles Times. In the mockumentary “Nothing So Strange,” the richest man in America is shot dead in downtown L.A. on Dec. 2, 1999. In the plot, an African-American man is taken into custody and charged with the crime, but skeptical citizens band together to find the truth. The film’s producer and director, Brian Flemming, co-author of last year’s Off Broadway hit, “Bat Boy: The Musical,” said the work was inspired by current events. “I started thinking about the 1963 Kennedy assassination, when no one suspected the Dallas police,” he told the Times. “And about the 1968 assassination of Robert Kennedy, when no one questioned the LAPD.” The filmmaker says that he went through a “period of soul-searching,” before planning to target Gates, who, at age 46, is alive and well in Seattle. Ultimately, Flemming claims, he threw caution to the winds. “This is a scary, provocative idea,” he said, “but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong.” Microsoft does not concur. According to BBC Online, a company spokesman commented, “It’s very disappointing that a moviemaker would do something like this.”

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