Those that can't, steal. 


Sent from my iPhone

On Sep 7, 2012, at 1:07 AM, "Pip Chodorov" <> wrote:

> September 2012
> To all filmmakers, film critics, film archivists, 
> film academics, curators, festival directors, and 
> film enthusiasts everywhere-
> I am writing to you because something very 
> unforeseen, very unexpected, and most unpleasant 
> recently happened in my life,
> When I moved to Paris seven years ago, I had to 
> decide whether or not to take with me copies of 
> my films, video masters, early drafts of scripts, 
> duplicates of reviews and announcements, etc. 
> When I mentioned this to Ray Carney, tenured 
> professor at Boston University and author of 
> several books on John Cassavetes and who also 
> claims he is "generally recognized to be the 
> leading scholarly authority on American narrative 
> art film," he eagerly offered to hold all of my 
> materials. I accepted his offer, with the 
> understanding that he would return them to me 
> upon request and that they remain at BU. Five 
> years later, in 2010, I requested the return of 
> some of my video masters to make copies of them 
> for various film archives in Europe. Carney duly 
> returned those video masters to me. They were in 
> excellent condition.
> Since that time, various companies have expressed 
> interest in streaming my films, and UCLA, in 
> conjunction with The Sundance Institute, have 
> volunteered to archive video masters of Sundance 
> alumni films. In early April, I made several 
> requests to Carney for the return of my 
> materials. I sent Carney several e-mails (to 
> various e-mail addresses), and I called his home 
> and office and left numerous messages. Carney 
> ignored all of my attempts to reach him. As a 
> result, I hired a lawyer and filed a lawsuit in 
> Massachusetts, where a judge issued a temporary 
> restraining order and a preliminary injunction 
> against Carney. The court entered a default 
> against Carney (who had not responded to my 
> complaint) and ordered Carney to return the 
> materials to me, or else be held in contempt of 
> court. After that, Carney hired a lawyer who 
> stated Carney intends to defend his conduct by 
> arguing that I "gave" him the materials outright 
> as "a gift."
> There is much at stake here for me. Without the 
> digital video masters, my films, everything prior 
> to 1990, Casual Relations, Local Color, The 
> Scenic Route, Impostors, Mark Rappaport-The TV 
> Spin-Off, Chain Letters, plus the High-Definition 
> version of Exterior Night, cannot be made 
> available for streaming, commercial DVDs, 
> video-on-demand, or any electronic delivery 
> system down the road. My life as a filmmaker, my 
> past, and even my future reputation as a 
> filmmaker are at stake. I gave Carney no rights 
> to my materials except the right to hold them and 
> return them to me on request. His lawyer has 
> refused to disclose the current location of my 
> materials.
> Carney tried to cast doubt on the truthfulness of 
> the inventory I presented. Furthermore, under 
> oath, he stated "some of the items I received I 
> no longer have because I gave them away to third 
> parties. I discarded other items due to the 
> degraded and unusable condition they were in when 
> I received them. Finally, I discarded other items 
> at later dates after they were worn-out by the 
> normal wear and tear of being used." This is 
> sworn statement from Carney who, earlier, on his 
> website bragged, "Mark is a great friend and gave 
> me almost everything he owned when he left New 
> York for FranceĀŠ So I am now the 'Mark Rappaport 
> Archive.' I have the largest collection of 
> material by him in the world: file cabinets and 
> storage bins full of amazing things: production 
> notebooks, film prints, rough drafts, revisions, 
> scripts, film stock, DVDs, tapes, notes, 
> jottings, journals, etc. etc. etc. It's a dream 
> come true for me and one of the major film 
> collections by one of the world's greatest 
> artists. All being preserved for posterity at any 
> cost." 
> (PLEASE NOTE: If this interests you, go to the 
> website before this entry is removed.)
> Elsewhere, he describes me as "a genuine national treasure."
> The judge, at a pre-trial hearing, demanded that 
> Carney supply the court with a full inventory of 
> what he still had, what he gave away, and what he 
> destroyed. Carney subsequently delivered a full 
> inventory-which included absolutely everything I 
> gave him. None of it had been given away or 
> destroyed. Although he clearly had perjured 
> himself, I was ecstatic to learn my materials 
> were intact. After four and a half months of 
> this, Carney got in touch with me to propose a 
> deal, saying, "I sincerely wish you well and I am 
> sorry this issue has come between us." "I am 
> willing," he writes, to "ship everything back for 
> a modest consideration, simply to cover my costs 
> and the time and trouble of having stored the 
> material for the past seven-and-a-half years." In 
> return for my own films, I was to pay him 
> $27,000! Some may call this extortion, I call it 
> merely outrageous. Just to put it in perspective, 
> that would equal 3 years of the monies I get from 
> Social Security. To continue the suit to trial 
> would have cost me about the same amount, in 
> addition to the thousands I had already spent. I 
> couldn't afford to continue.
> Just when I filed for a dismissal of the suit, 
> Carney demanded back, because he claims they were 
> part of "the gift" I gave him, the video masters 
> that he returned to me in 2010-namely From the 
> Journals of Jean Seberg, Postcards, Exterior 
> Night, and John Garfield.
> I've heard somewhat similar stories from other 
> filmmakers, although none quite as breathtaking 
> as this.
> For a variety of reasons, I think this is a 
> cautionary tale you might consider emailing to 
> colleagues, friends, and acquaintances who are 
> interested in the conservation and protection of 
> works by non-mainstream filmmakers, film 
> preservation in general, and archiving not just 
> films but film-related artifacts of the recent 
> past by independent filmmakers. Please feel free 
> email this letter, post this on Facebook pages, 
> and submit it to various blogs.
> If you want to write about this situation, I have much more information.
> Sincerely,
> Mark Rappaport
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