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By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Skin off Tartan's back: Araki reclaims

At Filmmaker, Anthony Kaufman digs into the tale of the abortive release of Mysterious Skin, Gregg Araki‘s haunting, abuse-driven feature: its producers took the movie back, filing “a lawsuit against distributors Tartan Films USA and TLA Entertainment Group in November 2005″, and placing the DVD rights with Strand Releasing. skin1788.jpg“This unusual scenario came as a result of a contentious dispute between the film’s producers and its original distributors, an ongoing litigious battle about money, power and delivery requirements,” writes Kaufman. “By the time of the release, they had paid us $50,000 of the $250,000,” says [producer Jeffrey] Levy-Hinte. “We were asking politely, and then forcibly, for the money. They coughed up two more payments, paying a total of $175,000 by July.” “Delivery requirements” led to further assertions by the distributor, described in the dispatch, including an October “complaint in U.S. District Court accusing Tartan/TLA of never acknowledging the contract’s termination and continuing to “engage in distribution activities, despite the fact that they no longer have a license to do so and in so doing, have engaged in copyright infringement.” Levy-Hinte tells Filmmaker, “The importance of this lawsuit is that we can’t allow distributors to get away with this… it happens all too often with these red herring delivery issues…. ‘I don’t want to pay you. What are you going to do, sue me?’ And fortunately we were in a position to do that, and we had a termination clause which was ironclad.” The Strand DVD include sdeleted scenes and audition tapes, and was supervised by Araki, despite TLA having already released a different version.

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