‘Boyhood’ Director Loses Warehouse Fire Case

     (CN) – Oscar-nominated director Richard Linklater cannot collect on an insurance claim he filed after his film archives was destroyed by a wildfire, a Texas appeals court ruled.
     Linklater built his reputation on films like the coming-of age-comedy “Dazed and Confused,” the comedy “School of Rock,” and the challenging, rotoscope animated “Waking Life.” The director earned new acclaim last year, however, with the release of “Boyhood,” which he’d filmed over a period of 12 years as his star, Ellar Coltrane, grew up.
     His legal spat with with Truck Insurance Exchange stems from the 2011 Bastrop County Complex Wildfire, which wiped out 1,600 homes and killed two people.
     According to court documents, Linklater said the blaze engulfed a Paige, Texas, warehouse that allegedly held a collection of film from his various projects.
     Estimating the archive’s worth at $500,000, the director and screenwriter filed a claim under his commercial insurance policy.
     Truck Insurance Exchange denied the claim, however, based on the fact the building was not named in the policy, and that the film archive was also not covered.
     Linklater in turn filed suit in Travis County, Texas, for breach of contract, unfair insurance practices and violation of the prompt payment statute.
     A judge ruled for Truck Insurance Exchange, however, agreeing with its argument that the archive was not insured.
     The Austin-based Third District Texas Court of Appeals affirmed on June 18, noting that the insurance policy specifies two buildings in Austin – not 171 Cardinal Drive in Paige – that are covered under the policy.
     “It is nonsensical to ignore the declarations specific to the policy being construed when attempting to discern what property that policy covers,” Justice David Puryear wrote for a three-person panel.
     Puryear also rejected Linklater’s argument that the “coverage extensions” provision of the policy provides coverage for the film archive.
     “Because Linklater did not acquire 171 Cardinal Drive during the policy period but rather already owned it, the coverage extensions do not apply to the archive,” Puryear wrote.
     Linklater’s “Boyhood” earned Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay last year. He was also nominated for Best Original Screenplay for the 2004 film “Before Sunset” and the 2013 conclusion of that trilogy, “Before Midnight.”

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