EXCLUSIVE: Producer Paolo Branco is not letting up in his pursuit of compensation over The Man Who Killed Don Quixote rights snafu. However, a statement sent to me today from the film’s producers indicates that they are not ceding ground either.
According to a statement from Branco on Wednesday, a Madrid court ruling from July 13 backs up previous London and Paris judgments that his Alfama Films has an improperly terminated contract with Don Quixote director Terry Gilliam.
The prolific Portuguese producer, whose credits include David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis and Raoul Ruiz’s Mysteries Of Lisbon, claims that his sales and production outfit Alfama is the “sole owner of exploitation rights in France” as well as much of the world.
The statement continues, “All funds acquired through contracts signed after the dated co-production contract of May 9, 2016 without the consent of Alfama Films are therefore illegal, including funding from Eurimages, the French distribution MG, pre-sales and other international sales.
“Alfama Films and Leopardo Filmes will assert their right to compensation for all damages and request reimbursement of all monies illegally collected by all who participated in this operation of usurping rights that do not belong to them.”
However, in a statement sent to me today, the film’s producers Tornasol, Entre Chien Et Loup and Kinology (which also sells the film) continue to strike a different tone:
“The Spanish ruling of July 13 is not a final judgment as it will be appealed, therefore it is not definitive. Moreover, Alfama and Leopardo didn’t make any financial contribution to the film, so they are not the producers.
“All contracts signed by the co-producers of The Man Who Killed Don Quixote are valid for exploitation. The film’s producers Tornasol, Entre Chien et Loup, Kinology and Ukbar are responsible for its financing alongside other financiers. Alfama has to stop sending malicious interpretations of the French, English and Spanish judgments.”
Mariela Besuievsky, the well-respected Tornasol Films executive and producer of Foreign Language Oscar winner The Secret In Their Eyes, has previously said that Branco may be in line for compensation due to the improper termination of his contract but she and her partners on the film have maintained that he does not have a claim to ownership of the movie. The two camps haven’t been able to reach an agreement so far.
In Cannes, the film’s director Terry Gilliam told us that “the way Cannes stood up, and the way Ocean [French distributor Ocean Films] has continued to stand up, has put steel into the backs of all the [film’s] distributors.” However, Amazon backed out of U.S. and UK distribution during the festival because they feared legal wrangling could roll on and on.
Much like the film’s decades-long journey to production, this one indeed looks set to run and run.