Capitol Films Cash Crunch: SAG Demands Meeting With Owner David Bergstein

EXCLUSIVE: The following email was sent this month by the Screen Actors Guild to David Bergstein, the owner of Capitol Films, whose financial meltdown has been crushing indie after indie while he reportedly was lounging on a yacht during the Cannes Film Festival. It confirms all my recent reporting:

To: David Bergstein
Screen Actors Guild
Subject: Request for Meeting

Dear Mr. Bergstein:
We understand that Capitol Films and Capco Group are intending to start principal photography on a film entitled Labor Pains on June 2, 2008, utilizing the services of Screen Actors Guild-covered performers. Capitol recently encountered difficulties meeting its contractual obligations to the Screen Actors Guild in connection with projects entitled Nailed, and Love Ranch. Screen Actors Guild performers have also been adversely affected on a Canadian production connected to your companies entitled Bad Meat. Our New York office advised that preparations for your film entitled An Invisible Sign of My Own have ceased. This appears to be a repeated and snowballing problem. It would be in the interest of all parties to meet as soon as possible regarding the financial assurances that Screen Actors Guild will require from Capitol and its related companies on future productions. This includes, but is certainly not limited to, Labor Pains. We would like to discuss these issues with you directly, along with any representatives you may want to include in the meeting. Please advise when you are available to meet with us at our national offices in Los Angeles. I look forward to hearing from you.

Susan Lowry
National Director, Financial Assurances
Screen Actors Guild

“Snowballing”? What an understatement.

Meanwhile, I have an update on the Bad Meat shoot which was delayed for ten days at the start because Capitol Films didn’t provide the promised funds. The company claimed that Bergstein’s father was ill and that he was unavailable to sign checks. Capitol Films finally came up with starting money, and the shoot was going well. Suddenly, two weeks away from completing principal photography, the cast and crew were told that the money had completely run out and the production was shutting down. Capitol claimed that money would be flowing in another week’s time, but that promised infusion of capital from Comerica Bank or anyone didn’t materialize. So the film closed down this month after about 2/3’s of the script was shot in Winnipeg. “It’s done, over, kaput,” an insider tells me. “A sorry day for a lot of actors, producers, the writer/director, wardrobe, hair, makeup, hotels, craft services, drivers, etc. — hundreds of people who weren’t fully paid. Only a couple actors had all their money put in escrow and are therefore whole.”

  1. David O. Russell Film Shut Down 3rd Time
  2. Jake & Jessica Sidelined Again: IATSE Shuts Down David O. Russell Film
  3. IS THIS A MELTDOWN? More Big Actors And Directors Caught In Capitol Crunch
  4. 5TH UPDATE: ‘Nailed’ Tip Of The Iceberg: Capitol’s Money Woes On More Films
  5. 4TH UPDATE: ‘Nailed’ Production Resumed; More Capitol Films Suffered
  6. 3RD UPDATE: David O. Russell Film Drama
  7. 2ND UPDATE: SAG Shuts Down Russell Film; Jessica & Jake Stand By
  8. EXCLUSIVE: David O. Russell Film Drama! Jessica Biel & Jake Gyllenhaal Sidelined

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