LOS ANGELES (CN) – Award-winning director Jo Franklin claims the Kentucky Horse Park Federation reneged on its agreement to sell DVDs of her “magnificent documentary” about the Arabian horse under pressure from Saudi officials who wanted a higher cut in the profits and were displeased with how the film portrayed their country.
Franklin, who has directed several documentaries on the Middle East, says she convinced the Saudi government to sponsor the federation’s exhibition on Arabian horses at its International Museum of the Horse at the Kentucky Horse Park.
She also agreed to direct a documentary on Arabian horses, according to her complaint in Superior Court.
The federation allegedly agreed to let Franklin and her production company, Sea Castle Films, sell DVDs of the documentary, called “A Gift From the Desert: The Art, History and Culture of the Arabian Horse,” at the exhibition and at the 2010 World Equestrian games.
After spending several months filming in Saudi Arabia, Great Britain, Kentucky and California, Franklin and Sea Castle “produced a one-hour work that captured the majesty and nobility of the Arabian horse,” the lawsuit states. The documentary purportedly received “rave reviews.”
“Nevertheless, despite Sea Castle creating a magnificent documentary and despite Sea Castle’s standing ready, willing and able to deliver the DVDs of the documentary for sale … the (foundation) has now reneged on its end of the deal and refused to accept delivery of the DVDs or take any actions to sell the DVDs at the exhibition or the World Equestrian Games,” Franklin claims.
She believes the foundation breached its agreement based on pressure from Saudi officials, who were “displeased with aspects of the film that were less fully complementary (sic) of Saudi Arabia” than they would have preferred.
The Saudi government also “seeks a higher percentage of the profits” than Franklin’s deal with the federation would have offered, the lawsuit states.
Franklin and Sea Castle demand more than $50,000 in damages for lost sales and an order forcing the foundation to “use its best efforts to sell the DVDs” during the rest of the exhibition and at this year’s World Equestrian Games.
They are represented by Michael Adler of Tantalo & Adler.