Serial Killer Documentary Reaches Crossroad
(CN) - A Cleveland documentary filmmaker whose latest project involves local serial killer Anthony Sowell says in court that his partner tried "hijack" control of the movie.
Kahlil Pedizisai claims that he came up for the movie "Eleven" after the Cleveland community was rocked by the story of Sowell's killing spree, which came to an end in late 2009 after a naked woman fell from a window in his home on Imperial Avenue.
Police found 11 "decomposing bodies hidden in crawl spaces, buried under direct floors or in the back yard," according to the complaints later filed on behalf of those victims. Sowell has been on death row since 2011.
Pedizisai allegedly intended for "Eleven" to focus on the humanity of the victims through interviews with their loved ones.
He says he joined forced with Laura Paglin, another member of the local film community, and they agreed to collaborate on the movie, which would explore "the plight of addicted black women and their invisibility to society at large."
Though the pair never entered into a formal contract, Pedizisai said they agreed to share credit as co-producers and co-directors, and to share in the film's expenses and profits.
Creative differences allegedly interrupted that plan, with Pedizisai wanting to focus on the victims and Paglin centering on Sowell.
In addition to trying "to hijack" production, Paglin has decided "to deny an accomplished film producer and director/photographer from participating in and receiving credit for a production largely of his own creation," according to the complaint in Cuyahoga County.
Pedizisai also says that Paglin secured $50,000 in grant money for the project but did not deposit the funds in the partners' account.
He allegedly tried to dissolve the partnership, but Paglin refused to hand over the film footage in her possession, according to the complaint.
The complaint pits Pedizisai and his company, Visual Arsenal LLC, against Paglin and her company, Creative Film-Makers' Association.
The plaintiffs want an accounting and dissolution of the partnership, as well as the return of intellectual property and injunction from its future use. They are represented by Jeffrey Brauer with Hahn Loeser Parks.