Robert Lantos is suing over the sale of six of his films by Goldman Sachs Investment Partners. These films are important to Canada's cultural heritage as they reflect Canadians to themselves in a sea of Hollywood productions that crowd theaters in Canada where it is very unusual to see a Canadian production. Canadians are not (yet) interchangeable with Americans and we have our own stories to tell.
Goldman doesn't give a plugged nickel about our stories so they should not have any say as to where these Canadian film rights should go.
Producer Lantos sues Goldman over sale of film rightsRead the entire article here
By Gayle MacDonald and Simon Houpt - The Globe and Mail
Robert Lantos, the canny, creative, and famously combative movie producer who once stood atop the Canadian film and television business as the chairman and CEO of Alliance Communications, has filed suit in a bitter custody dispute over six of his films which he says were sold to an international distributor without his permission.
In a statement of claim filed with Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice last month, Mr. Lantos alleges the new owners of Alliance Films, namely Goldman Sachs Investment Partners, the private equity arm of the U.S. investment bank, acted improperly when it sold off the international distribution rights to the films to Alliance Atlantis International in 2007. The following year, Alliance Atlantis International re-sold the rights as part of a 7,500-title deal to Echo Bridge Entertainment, a little-known home entertainment distributor based in Needham, Mass.
The films include critically acclaimed features such as Sunshine and Atom Egoyan's Ararat, which won Genie Awards for best picture, and David Cronenberg’s eXistenZ. The other three are Picture Claire, Denys Arcand’s Stardom and the Paul Gross comedy Men With Brooms.
The 63-year-old is seeking unspecified damages and residual fees from these films in a suit that also names Echo Bridge and Alliance Atlantis International Distribution Ltd. as defendants.
Ironically, Mr. Lantos’s beef is not with Alliance Films, whose chair is his long-time business partner and flamboyant friend, Victor Loewy. He had to list Alliance Films in the suit because his contract, technically, is with them.
“It pains me to have to sue the company I founded and spent 25 years building,” said Mr. Lantos, who produced the Oscar-nominated Being Julia (starring Annette Bening) and Barney’s Version. “But its current owner Goldman Sachs has disposed of the international rights to my films, without having the right to do so, and without paying me.