Tuesday, March 28, 2006


We have filed suit on behalf of our client Black and White Films, Inc., the producer of the independent feature A Foreign Affair, starring David Arquette, Tim Blake Nelson and Emily Mortimer. Our suit was filed suit in California Superior Court against international sales distributor Myriad Pictures, Inc.

The suit alleges that Myriad failed to pay $110,000 of a $200,000 advance as required by the terms of its distribution agreement. According to the suit, Myriad also failed to pay $25,000 for a Hi-Def to film transfer, and breached the agreement by failing to provide the producer with quarterly accounting statements. The Plaintiff is seeking damages in excess of $163,000 plus interest and punitive damages.

The motion picture (released on home video as 2 Brothers & a Bride) was the debut feature of director Helmut Schleppi, and was written by Geert Heetebrij and follows two naive brothers from small-town America (Arquette, Nelson) who, after their doting mother passes away, travel to Russia as part of a singles program, hoping to find a traditionally minded woman like their mom. The film premiered at the January 2003 Sundance Film Festival and was also shown at the May 2003 Cannes Film Market. The film was released theatrically in the United States in May 2004.

"We completed delivery of the Picture to Myriad in April 2004, at which time the balance of the advance was due," according to Geert Heetebrij the writer/producer of the picture. "Myriad's excuse for their failure to pay us has been that they are having cash flow problems."

Mark Litwak, attorney for the Plaintiff said, "Despite repeated requests over almost two years, Myriad has refused to live up to its contractual obligations, leaving the Plaintiff no choice but to file this suit."

Marilyn Hotchkiss’ Ballroom Dancing and Charm School opens on March 31, 2006

Congratulations to our clients Art Klein and Eileen Craft, producers of Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing & Charm School which will open in more than 50 cities on March 31, 2006. A Sundance film festival favorite, the film is being distributed by Samuel Goldwyn Films.

The film stars Robert Carlyle, Marisa Tomei, Mary Steenburgen, Sean Astin, Donnie Wahlberg, David Paymer, Sonia Braga, Ernie Hudson, Danny DeVito and John Goodman.

for more details on the movie, and to see a trailer.

DeNadie Wins Mexican Academy Award

Congratulations to our client, Tin Dirdamal, whose film DeNadie won the Mexican Academy Award for best documentary.

The film also won the World Cinema Documentary Audience Award at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.

The film follows immigrants from South America as they traverse Mexico on a dangerous journey to try to reach the Promised Land, the United States. While there have been films that have explored the poor treatment and abuse of Mexican immigrants in the United States, this is the first film I have seen that has shown how immigrants from Honduras and Guatemala are robbed and beaten by both vicious Mexican gangs and the police.

Read more about the award at:



Read more about the film at: http://www.indiewire.com/people/2006/01/park_city_06_ti.html

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Product Placement Article in Delaware Lawyer

Mark has written an in-depth article about product placement in this month’s Delaware Lawyer magazine.

What do the blockbuster movies “Star Wars” and “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” have in common with television shows such as “American Idol?” They are classic examples of product placement – the practice of advertisers inserting their products in movies and television shows in order to build brand awareness and increase sales. The product placement market is projected to grow at a compound annual rate of 14.9% from 2004 to 2009, reaching an estimated $6.94 billion.

By tying licensing and merchandising opportunities directly into movies and TV shows, product placement blurs the line between entertainment and advertising. As a result, it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish commercial speech (i.e., speech that proposes a commercial transaction) from non-commercial speech (i.e., speech with artistic or political content).

Traditionally courts have extended greater protection to non-commercial speech, although restrictions on commercial speech may be invalidated if they unconstitutionally limit dissemination of information to the public. This article explores the legal implications of the increasingly intertwined relationship between advertising and entertainment.

To read the full article, go to:



Mark will be bringing his one day Risky Business seminar to Dallas on April 8 at Southern Methodist University.

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 Random Order Entertainment and is co-sponsored by the Dallas Producers Association, Indie Slate magazine, MLD Equipment, MPS Studios, Texas Association of Film/Tape Professionals (TAFTP) and Women in Film - Dallas.

The cost to attend the seminar is $99, $65 for students and $79 for DPA, TAFTP and WIF members. For more info go to: http://www.randomorder.net/


Congratulations to our clients whose films were selected for the upcoming Method Fest film festival. This year three clients have had their films selected to show at Method Fest.

The 8th annual The Method Fest independent film festival will take place March 31 - April 7 in Calabasas. The Method Fest is the only film festival in America that puts its focus on the actor. The Method Fest is a festival of discovery, seeking story-driven films showcasing breakout acting performances by emerging stars and career-defining roles by established actors.

Our clients’ films are:


Director: Stefan Schaefer
Writer: Stefan Schaefer
Producer: Benjamin Odell, Jonathan Stern
Starring: Eugene Byrd, Ali Larter, Melissa Leo, Glenn Fitzgerald, William Sadler

CONFESS charts the exploits of disillusioned ex-hacker Terell Lessor (Eugene Byrd). Employing strategically placed spy-cams, he captures compromising footage of those who slighted him in the past, broadcasting edits via the internet. Recognizing the power of this model, and working in tandem with accomplice Olivia (Ali Larter), he targets CEOs, politicians, and members of the power elite. Soon Terell's every action is front-page news, law enforcement has labeled him a new breed of terrorist, and the movement he spawned is spiraling out of control.


USA, 104 MIN
Director: Jamin Winans
Writer: Jamin Winans
Producer: Joe Sekiya

Starring: Raymond Andrew Bailey, Laura Fuller, Megan Heffernan, Liz Cunningham, Chris Kelly, Hayz II, Rosa Vasquez

A jaded news photojournalist, Aaaron Dougherty, has just broken the national news story of the year. After suddenly waking up in a field in the middle of nowhere, with no recollection of the past 24 hours, Aaron is forced to reexamine his life before understanding the mysterious events of his lost time.

The Way Back Home

USA, 93 MIN,
Director: Reza Badiyi
Writer: Michael Houston King
Producer: Michael Houston King, Paul Sirmons
Starring: Michael Houston King, Julie Harris, Tessie Santiago, Ruby Dee, Danny Nucci, Deezer D, Amy Landers

Spencer Krane has it all, the great job, the model wife, the great NY lifestyle. But after the sudden death of his wife he returns to a small southern town to take care of his grandmother who has suffered a stroke. Over the course of a summer back home in this small Florida town he reevaluates his life and develops a sense of hope for his future.

The film schedule and additional information is available at: http://www.methodfest.com/