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in Filmmaking
on Jun 20, 2008

Two pieces have been published online reporting on the current financial situation at THINKFilm, owned by David Bergstein, who purchased the company along with Capitol Films in 2006. In IndieWire, Anthony Kaufman details the efforts of some filmmakers to receive the overdue minimum advances they are owed by THINK. He also gets a quote on the issue from THINKFilm CEO Mark Urman. From the piece:

A determined, but frustrated, Mark Urman told indieWIRE this week that he’s communicating with his filmmakers and making every effort to get people paid. “I feel terrible if people are hurt by our financial problems,” he said. “We’re not moving forward on other people’s blood, I can assure you. We’re not [EXPLETIVE] people; we’re in trouble. And if people end up getting [EXPLETIVE], we’re [EXPLETIVE], too, and we can all be on the unemployment lines together.”

EDITORS NOTE: After publication, indieWIRE was contacted by Mark Urman who requested that the expletive used in the quote above be removed.

Today, A.J. Schnack has published a story about filmmaker Alex Gibney, who has announced a lawsuit against THINKfilm over the release of his Oscar-winning Taxi to the Dark Side. Schnack quotes a press release issued by X-Ray, Gibney’s production company:

“X-Ray asserts, among other things, that THINKFilm did not have the financial resources to properly release the film and fraudulently concealed this fact from the film’s creative team, its investors and the film’s sales agent, Cinetic Media Inc. Further, the demand asserts that THINKFilm’s actions damaged “Taxi,” its commercial reputation and its future possibilities for commercial success. X-Ray seeks damages, payment of legal fees as well as a termination of its agreement with ThinkFilm and a return of its distribution rights.

(…)In conversations with some of the film’s principals, it seems clear that many of ThinkFilm’s problems are the result of actions taken by its parent company, Capitol Films, and its principal, David Bergstein. Glascoff noted that Mark Urman, President of THINKFilm may have been frustrated by his inability to get needed cash flow from Capitol. “Nevertheless,” notes Glascoff, “lack of disclosure was a serious problem.”

Gibney is less diplomatic. “I was particularly upset,” says Gibney, “ by the way that Think took advantage of the many small vendors – publicists and web designers – who gave Think discounts because of the important message that “Taxi” had to convey. Rather than reward them for their hard work – which helped to earn the film an Oscar – THINKFilm is refusing to pay them.”

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