Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Mark will be bringing his one day Risky Business seminar to Tupelo, Mississippi on Friday, November 30, 2007.

Those who attend this comprehensive all day seminar will learn how independent films are financed and distributed.

Topics include organizing your company, raising financing via pre-sales, debt and limited partnerships, negotiating tactics, principal terms of the acquisition/distribution agreement, cross-collateralization and creative accounting. Particular attention is paid to how producers and filmmakers can protect their interests by watering down warranties, getting added to the E& O policy, using lab access letter to retain possession of the negative, and utilizing termination and arbitration clauses.

This seminar is being organized by the Tupelo Mississippi Film Commission and is co-sponsored by Tupelo Convention & Visitors Bureau; Tupelo Film Commission; BancorpSouth; MS Film Office; MS Arts Commission; and Gardner-Watson Ice House.

More info at:

Cost of the seminar is General - $65 • Attorneys - $175.00
Lunch is included. Attorneys receive


Pennsylvania Changes its Film Incentives

Pennsylvania changed its film incentive program by passing Act 55 which creates the Creativity in Focus: The Pennsylvania Film Production Tax Credit Program, effective July 1. The new program provides a 25 percent film production tax credit for film production expenses incurred in the commonwealth.

The tax credit is available for feature films, television films, television pilots, episodes of a television series or commercials intended for national distribution. In order to qualify for the program, 60 percent of the total production expenses must be incurred in Pennsylvania. No more than $75 million per year can be awarded. Filmmakers interested in taking advantage of the tax credit program should contact the PA Film Office. More information is available at

Da Vinci Code Copyright Lawsuit Dismissed.

Judge Michael A. Posner of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts granted summary judgment against John Dunn, the Massachusetts author of “The Vatican Boys,” who claimed that Dan Brown’s book “The Da Vinci Code" infringed his copyright.

Writer John Dunn sought $400 million in damages from Dan Brown, his publisher and the three movie studios that distributed the motion picture based on Dan Brown’s book.

Dunn claimed numerous similarities between his novel and "The Da Vinci Code." He claimed they were similar in themes, characters, setting, storyline, plot points, and concept.

The defendants asserted that they never read Dunn's book before "The Da Vinci Code" was published, and that the two works were distinctly different.

Judge Posner noted the differences in many of the key characters, describing Dunn's attempt to liken the two central female characters as "absurd" and the villain in "The Da Vinci Code" with a character in Dunn's book as "patently ridiculous."

"Far from being similar the characters, plot devices, settings, pacing, tone and the theme of the two books are entirely different," the judge said in dismissing the case. Dunn v. Brown et al., No. 06-30134, 2007 WL 2828869 (D. Mass. Sept. 28, 2007). Intellectual Property Litigation Reporter, Volume 14, Issue 13 10/04/2007


Congratulations to our client filmmaker Greg Chwerchak whose film Greetings From The Shore premiered at the Montreal Film Festival. The movie is a coming-of-age romance starring an ensemble cast including David Fumero (“One Life to Live”), Paul Sorvino ("Goodfellas"), Jay O. Sanders ("Half Nelson"), and Kim Shaw in a debut performance.

The film has been added as a "Special Screening" to the Fort Lauderdale Film Festival on Fri, October 26, 2007.

Cuttin Da Mustard

Congratulations to the filmmakers behind Cuttin Da Mustard which was the closing night film of the Pan African Film Festival and winner of the Festival Choice Award for Best Feature.

The film was also shown at the Malibu Celebration of Film and The International Black Film Festival of Nashville. It will next be shown at the American Black Film Festival on October 26, 2007. The picture stars Brandon T. Jackson (Roll Bounce, host for Up Close and Personal Tour ), who is a lead in the $125 million dollar Dreamworks movie Tropic Thunder which also stars Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., Jack Black and Nick Nolte.

Cuttin Da Mustard also stars Keshia Knight Pulliam (Beauty Shop, The Gospel, The Cosby Show), Wesley Jonathan (Divine Intervention, Queen of Media, Steppin: The Movie), Charles S. Dutton (Alien 3, Tony Nominee for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and The Piano Lesson), Adrienne Bailon (The Cheetah Girls, The Cheetah Girls 2), Sinbad (Jingle All the Way, Houseguest, and First Kid), Kym Whitley (The Perfect Man, The Salon, Next Friday), Debra Wilson (City Girls, Scary Movie 4, Ice Age 2), Chico Benymon (Ali), and Lil’ Zane (Finding Forrester, Dr. Dolittle 2). The Picture was directed by Reed R. McCants, and produced by Neema Barnette, Daisy Lawrence and Thomas Karl.

10th Annual Method FEST set for March 27 - April 3, 2008 in Calabasas, Calif

The 10th anniversary The Method Fest independent film festival, coming off the success of opening night film, "Waitress," has set its 2008 dates for March 27 - April 3, 2008 in Calabasas, Calif. The Method Fest also had several other recently released films including "Jimbabyne," "Lonely Hearts," and "Fido," plus others including "Black Irish" with upcoming release dates.
The Method Fest, the only film festival in the U.S. that puts its focus on acting, is looking for character and story-driven films featuring strong performances.

The Method Fest features American and international feature films and short films and is named after "The Method" school of acting, which revolutionized the approach in acting, particularly in film.

Deadlines for film submissions for the 10th annual The Method Fest are December 15 (early) and January 31, 2008 (late deadline). Entry fees are $40 (early) and $50 (late) for features; $30 (early) and $40 (late) for short films; student entries are $25. Screen formats accepted are 35 mm, BetaCam SP, DigiBetaCam and HDCam.

For film submission information call (310) 535-9230 or visit the festival web site at You can also register through