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UPDATE: Capitol’s David Bergstein Awarded $50M+$500K In Lawsuit Against Ex-Counsel

By | Wednesday August 22, 2012 @ 5:07pm PDT

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: The jury came back today with an additional judgment of $500,000 in punitive damages.

David BergsteinTUESDAY 7:15 PM: Deadline has learned that a Los Angeles Superior Court jury today unanimously awarded the controversial film financier David Bergstein the $49.5 million damages against his former in-house counsel Susan Tregub at Capitol Film for breach of fiduciary duty and legal malpractice. But this isn’t over yet. Today’s verdict determined that Tregub (now in private practice) acted with malice, so the second phase of the trial involving punitive damages will start tomorrow when the monetary figure could go higher.

Related: David Bergstein Sues Aramid Entertainment

The two-year case arose from Tregub going to work for Aramid Entertainment Fund in 2009 after Capitol. Read More »

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Capitol Films Cash Crunch: SAG Demands Meeting With Owner David Bergstein

EXCLUSIVE: The following email was sent this month by the Screen Actors Guild to David Bergstein, the owner of Capitol Films, whose financial meltdown has been crushing indie after indie while he reportedly was lounging on a yacht during the Cannes Film Festival. It confirms all my recent reporting:

To: David Bergstein
Screen Actors Guild
Subject: Request for Meeting
Dear Mr. Bergstein:
We understand that Capitol Films and Capco Group are intending to start principal photography on a film entitled Labor Pains on June 2, 2008, utilizing the services of Screen Actors Guild-covered performers. Capitol recently encountered difficulties meeting its contractual obligations to the Screen Actors Guild in connection with projects entitled Nailed, and Love Ranch. Screen Actors Guild performers have also been adversely affected on a Canadian production connected to your companies entitled Bad Meat. Our New York office advised that preparations for your film entitled An Invisible Sign of My Own have ceased. This appears to be a repeated and snowballing problem. It would be in the interest of all parties to meet as soon as possible regarding the financial assurances that Screen Actors Guild will require from Capitol and its related companies on future productions. This includes, but is certainly not limited to, Labor Pains. We would like to discuss these issues with you directly, along with any representatives you may want to include in the meeting. Please advise when you are available to meet with us at our national offices in Los Angeles. I look forward to hearing from

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IS THIS A MELTDOWN? More Big Actors And Directors Caught In Capitol Crunch; Latest Film Features ‘Ugly Betty’ Star

MONDAY 11:30 PM: Tonight I’ve just been informed by a reliable source that “Capitol Films just had another movie shut down” — identified as An Invisible Sign Of My Own featuring America Ferrera, the star of ABC’s hit show Ugly Betty. It looks increasingly like a Capitol-sparked meltdown is happening in the indie film market, just as my sources feared. I’ll continue to follow this breaking story… So add her name to the star actors and directors like John Cusack, Helen Mirren, Gina Gershon, Joe Pesci, Jan de Bont, and Taylor Hackford whom I’ve learned have been, and Jennifer Lopez with writer-helmer Don Roos may be soon, affected by this cash crunch surrounding Capitol Films.  So it wasn’t just Jessica Biel and Jake Gyllenhaal and David O. Russell. “This is a big story that involves many projects,” one of my sources informs. All the details are here in my post that explains what’s really going on…

  • 5TH UPDATE: ‘Nailed’ Tip Of The Iceberg: Capitol’s Money Woes On More Films
  • 4TH UPDATE: ‘Nailed’ Production Resumed; More Capitol Films Suffered
  • 3RD UPDATE: David O. Russell Film Drama
  • Read More »

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    5TH UPDATE: ‘Nailed’ Tip Of The Iceberg: Capitol Films’ Cash Woes Impact Indies

    MONDAY 11:30 PM: Tonight I’ve been informed by a reliable source that “Capitol Films just had another movie shut down” — identified as An Invisible Sign Of My Own starring America Ferrera, the star of ABC’s Ugly Betty.

    So add her name to the star actors and directors like John Cusack, Helen Mirren, Gina Gershon, Joe Pesci, Jan de Bont, and Taylor Hackford whom I’ve learned have been, and Jennifer Lopez with writer-helmer Don Roos, may soon be, impacted by Capitol Films’ cash crunch. “This is a big story that involves many projects,” one of my sources informs. All weekend I reported on the on-set drama surrounding Friday’s shutdown of the David O. Russell film Nailed shooting in South Carolina, sidelining stars Jessica Biel and Jake Gyllenhaal. SAG ordered the actors to leave because insufficient funds were on deposit with the guild. Other unions are looking into the situation. For instance, some Teamsters and IATSE union members left the production because of payroll problems. The film is back shooting today after a Friday-Saturday-Sunday hiatus. But other media sources are now reporting what I revealed on Saturday: that the South Carolina Film Commission may withhold its incentive monies. (A decision will be made when an audit is completed by the panel within 30 days of the end of production.) Now I’ve learned that Nailed was not the only indie film shut down Friday because of Capitol Films’ financing problems: other indie movies have been affected as well. I’m told that “a shitload of people are owed a lot of money,” in the words of one … Read More »

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    ON SET DRAMA UPDATE: SAG Orders Actors On David O. Russell Film To Leave; Jessica Biel & Jake Gyllenhall Sidelined

    nailed-drama.JPG

    EXCLUSIVE! 3rd UPDATE: See new details about Capitol Films below. I’m told by knowledgeable sources that David O. Russell’s indie political comedy Nailed which began filming in April was shut down by the Screen Actors Guild on Friday because of insufficient funds on deposit with the guild. I’ve also learned the Columbia, S.C. shoot is in trouble with both IATSE and Teamsters, and some of those union members have left the beleaguered $25 million budgeted production. Rumors also are circulating that the state of South Carolina could withdraw its incentive monies because of the financing problems. Filmmakers hope to resolve the cash crunch and re-start shooting next week since principal photography is only at the halfway point. “I am confident we will finish,” an insider on the pic just told me. “The financing on this like most indies is based on bank loans and bridge loans. This is a matter of waiting on the bridge loan. Hopefully, it will all be resolved.”

    But new information coming my way says David Bergstein’s Capitol Films behind the pic is troubled. In 2006, he acquired a leading UK-based international sales company which over the years had built a good reputation in the movie biz and made a wide range of commercial and critical successes, including Robert Altman’s Gosford Park. But now I’m hearing from NYC film financing circles that “a shitload of people are owed a lot of money,” in the words of one expert in the field. “I heard this week that his major financing source, a hedge fund, has shut down and left him in the lurch.”

    The filmmakers were able to get in a … Read More »

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