Asian Film Producer Is Horrified

     LOS ANGELES (CN) – Eleven Arts, an Asian movie company, sued a DVD distributor for the “horrific and market-inappropriate quality” releases of five Japanese movies.
     Eleven Arts sued Seminal Films, Da Silva Group and its principal Rui da Silva in Superior Court, alleging breach of contract, fraud, negligent and intentional interference with economic relations, and negligent misrepresentation.
     Eleven Arts claims it entered into licensing agreements with Seminal in September 2011 to distribute DVDs of five films from the Japanese market: “ICE,” “Chocolate Underground,” “David and Kamal,” “Cast Me If You Can,” and “Breathless.”
     It claims that though Seminal had master tapes of the films, the product released to the public was a disaster.
     “Much to the dismay of Ko Mori, CEO of Eleven Arts (Mr. Mori), Seminal had used a low resolution Japanese ‘screener’ copy as the source for the manufacturing of DVDs for commercial distribution in North America for the pictures ‘Cast Me If You Can,’ ICE’ and ‘David and Kamal.’ Further, Eleven Arts discovered that Seminal had simply copied the low-resolution screener copies in their entirety, including the Japanese menus. This use of the low-resolution samples as master tapes for distribution in North America was unprofessional, unacceptable and unbelievable – the DVDs were meant for distribution in North America, and the menus are supposed to be in English,” the complaint states.
     Low-quality “screener” copies of movies typically are sent to industry professionals before a film’s release or during awards season.
     Eleven Arts states in a footnote: “A distributor’s use of the screener copy as the source for a final copy to be distributed and viewed by general audiences entails a brazen deviation from film industry standards.”
     Eleven Arts says it contacted Seminal and da Silva in early 2012, asked that it pull the inferior copies off the shelves, and re-release the movies using the master copies.
     “Further, Eleven Arts informed Mr. da Silva that Seminal may have created a possible copyright infringement issue with the producer, as Eleven Arts did not have the rights to the extra features and the behind-the-scenes content present on the low resolution Japanese screener copy,” the complaint states.
     According to Eleven Arts, “ICE” was taken off the market, but “Cast Me If You Can” and “David and Kamal” stayed.
     When Eleven Arts tried to contact da Silva, his representative told Eleven Arts that he “was on three months’ medical leave in Canada.”
     Months later, Eleven Arts learned da Silva was in Toronto, recovering from heart surgery.
     The complaint states: “Eleven Arts began to realize the sales numbers were not only bad, they were catastrophic and that time was slipping away. Eleven Arts was concerned not only with its revenues but also with the damage to its reputation, as the producers have a considerable financial and professional stake in the distribution of the licensed pictures. Point of fact, putting an inferior and shoddy DVD on the shelves that is not even appropriate for the target market constitutes a virtual billboard in the film industry proclaiming incompetence.”
     Eleven Arts claims it terminated the agreements in January, but Da Silva never returned the master copies of the films.
     Seminal claimed it was a “successful and experienced distribution company,” but Eleven Arts says those “representations were false.”
     “Defendants were neither capable of performing their obligations under the license agreements, nor performing services compatible with any film industry standards,” the complaint states.
     It says Seminal’s work “led to professional humiliation for Eleven Arts and the producer due to the horrific and market-inappropriate quality of the finished product.”
     The producer of “Cast Me If You Can” and other producers have threatened to sue Eleven Arts, the company says.
     Eleven Arts seeks an accounting, damages for the causes of action above, and costs.
     It is represented by Justin Ledden.

%d bloggers like this: