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Shannon’s Rainbow’ Producer Demands Gold

MANHATTAN (CN) - Not all rainbows lead to a pot of gold. Movie producer Joseph Di Palma claims SummitWorks and its affiliates "squandered" his $1 million investment in the film "Shannon's Rainbow," and breached contract by refusing to distribute it in the United States.

Di Palma, whose wife and daughter run the production company Supernova, says he met defendant Frank E. Johnson, the managing member of SummitWorks, in 2008.

Di Palma's daughter, Julianne Michelle, is an actress, and it had been established a year earlier that Michelle would be the lead actress for the film, according to the complaint in New York County Court.

Di Palma claims that Johnson persuaded him to invest in the project based on his credentials directing eight years of the TV series, "Touched by an Angel." But Di Palma says Johnson exaggerated his credentials, and had directed only three episodes of the show.

Di Palma says he agreed to invest in "Shannon's Rainbow" provided that "the film would be distributed in the United States and Canada in approximately 800 theatres, and the film's producers would maintain $2 million at the start of the film so that it could be successfully completed."

These points were "critical" to Di Palma, he says, because "he hoped the film would provide exposure that would propel [his daughter's] career."

After Di Palma ponied up the $1 million, he says, Johnson formed Shannon's Rainbow Utah LLC without his permission, excluding his managing company from the partnership.

Two Shannon's Rainbow LLCs are involved as both plaintiffs and defendants: one a Delaware LLC and one a Utah LLC.

Di Palma says SummitWorks and its members "squandered" his money so that "at the start of filming, the company's accounts held well under $1 million." When the film was completed, he says, SummitWorks "refused to abide by the promise to distribute the film in the United States in Canada," and insisted that it be distributed "to the foreign market."

Di Palma seeks specific performance of the contract, wants the movie distributed in the United States and Canada, and $2 million. He is represented by David Wrobel with Wrobel & Schatz.

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