It’s an old Hollywood tale: Someone makes a film. Someone else finances and produces it and even before the editing is finished the question of who controls the film rights becomes a legal battle. The twist is that the filmmaker is only eleven (yes 11) years old! With 23 movie credits (see New Yorker Article), Kay had always planned to direct. In his directorial debut “Saving Angelo” creative differences arose between Kay and Malibu neighbor/producer Conroy Kanter, who contributed $11,000 to the making of the film.
In last month’s settlement, Kay got full ownership and creative control of the 15 minute film and Kanter got a producer’s credit. By the way, Kevin Bacon plays a fireman in “Saving Angelo”.
Now that the legal issues have been settled, Kay can return to more important things like finishing the editing in preparation for the film’s submission to festivals.
Returning to the law, this case like so many, illustrates the importance of having a contract that spells out each parties rights and responsibilities. Sadly, huge numbers of contracts are not written well enough to avoid litigation, and that my friends is one of the reasons our courts are clogged and more states are creating Business Courts (see March 10, 2007 post “ Business Lawsuits Heard in Their Own Court…Will California be next?“)
The remaining question is: Will Dominic Scott Kay become the next Ron Howard?