BREAKING …Lawyers for Terrence Malick said today that it’s not his Sycamore Pictures but London-based film financing company Seven Seas Partnership who is guilty of breach of contract over the director’s long-time-in-the-making Voyage Of Time documentary series. In a counterclaim (read it here) to SSPL’s July 19 complaint over the “epic film” filed Monday in federal court in New York, Malick’s company claims that the financier “concocted the story told in its Complaint and asserted its trumped-up claims as a pretext for the fact that it either ran out of, or never had, the funds necessary to meet its financing obligations under the Agreement, or otherwise decided not to continue funding VOT in breach of its contractual obligations.” Asserting that they’ve met every milestone required and calling the initial complaint “completely without merit,” Sycamore’s counterclaim also says SSPL is using its “claims to hold hostage VOT-the films Mr. Malick has been working on for most of his professional life.” In today’s filing, Sycamore is seeking either an enforcement of the parties’ agreement over the film or the return of VOT’s copyright and the extensive production materials and footage that SSPL has claimed as theirs. And with two very different sides of the story like this, let’s be clear – there’s a lot more filings to come.
UPDATE, 12:55 PM: Sycamore’s lawyer Maura Wogan of Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz just responded to the suit. “The claims of Seven Seas are without merit. The film was on budget, on schedule, and all funds were used appropriately. Additionally, Seven Seas’ decision to file this lawsuit under the cover of darkness and go public before presenting Sycamore with a copy of the suit itself speaks to the weakness of the allegations.”
PREVIOUS BREAKING, 11 AM: In Hollywood, everyone knows that legendary director Terrence Malick marches to the beat of his own drum. But his unorthodox ways has led to a lawsuit in New York Federal court, waged against his Sycamore Pictures LLC by the London-based film financing company Seven Seas Partnership. They charge that after investing millions of dollars into Voyage Of Time – a documentary series narrated by the likes of Brad Pitt about the ascent of man — the film has been a no-show, with funds and Malick’s time allegedly redirected toward his other film projects. The lawsuit (read it here) claims Malick did little or no work on what is supposed to be a trio of projects. When confronted, Malick and his company refused to open the books or produce the footage that was supposed to have been shot.