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Synapse Films Press Release: Thriller - A Cruel Picture


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#1 of 37 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted August 25 2004 - 09:03 AM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEAugust 25, 2004


SYNAPSE FILMS TO PROCEED WITH WORLDWIDE RELEASE OF “THRILLER – A CRUEL PICTURE” DESPITE UNLAWFUL THREATS FROM THE FILM’S PRODUCER / DIRECTOR BOARNE VIBENIUS.

On September 28, 2004, Synapse Films, Inc. (Synapse) will proceed with the worldwide release of Thriller–A Cruel Picture (Thriller) aka They Call Her One Eye on DVD. In late 2001, Synapse was approached by Chrome Entertainment, Inc. (Chrome) who paid producer/director Boarne Vibenius $10,000 U.S. Dollars for worldwide distribution rights to Thriller. Chrome told Synapse they could not complete their production work on Thriller and they had total confidence in Donald May, Jr. and Synapse to successfully release a DVD version. Fortunately, the distribution agreement between Boarne Vibenius, Channel 1 and Chrome allowed assignment of the distribution agreement to Synapse upon purchase of all of Chrome’s assets. In early 2002, Synapse purchased all the assets of Chrome and received an assignment of the distribution agreement which remains legally in effect.

For over two years, Synapse has been ruthlessly and relentlessly defamed and harassed by Vibenius. Simply put, Vibenius does not want Synapse to release Thriller. These attacks intensified after the increased publicity for Thriller due to the release of Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003) and Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004) and from fine comments made about Thriller from director Quentin Tarantino in various press articles and interviews. Synapse has, in good faith, responded to numerous letters from Vibenius explaining that Synapse has full legal worldwide rights to release his film. Vibenius refuses our letters and correspondence. Just today, we received a pack of documents we had sent Vibenius via Federal Express that came back to us with a note stating “Return to Sender”. Vibenius also blocks our faxes and refuses our e-mails.

Vibenius’ latest tactic is hiding behind an alias named “Otto van der Leyfen”. He is now emailing false accusations from an anonymous Hotmail email address, to many of our loyal distributors, defaming Donald May, Jr. and Synapse Films. “Otto” (aka Vibenius) is also emailing the editors and webmasters of publicly accessible film and DVD information websites with attacks against Synapse.

Synapse intends to assert all legal means to protect and defend its rights to the film Thriller. Despite all these accusations and threats, Synapse fully intends to pay Vibenius royalties which will be in addition to $10,000 U.S. Dollars he has already received.

Please visit the Synapse Films, Inc. website at www.synapse-films.com for more information on Thriller, and other Synapse releases.

Charles A. Fiedler, General Counsel of Synapse Films, Inc.

 

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#2 of 37 OFFLINE   Paul_Scott

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Posted August 25 2004 - 10:45 AM

now that's a press release that gets me stoked to see the film
Synapse and the art of Hoopla Posted Image

i've been hearing about this movie for a while now, going back to a review in a magazine i can't recall the name of at the moment- many years before Kill Bill.
looking forward to seeing it.
the one advance review for the set on another forum was very positive.

#3 of 37 OFFLINE   Will K

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Posted August 25 2004 - 10:58 AM

I guess there's no commentary!

As with most cult revenge epics, I'm very interested in this one, but I'm a bit perplexed as to why the director is being such an ass. I'm sure there's more to the story, but he should be grateful a respectable label is treating his work with respect, much less releasing it at all.
My Blu-ray collection so far:Casino Royale, The Fifth Element, 300, Unforgiven, T2, The Descent, The Road Warrior, The Untouchables, Purple Rain, Deliverance

#4 of 37 OFFLINE   Ian_H

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Posted August 25 2004 - 05:58 PM

My bet is there were people willing to pay more than 10K to release it. Plain and simple it seems to be a tactic to try to get more money. 10K for worldwide rights is a pretty good deal.

Maybe there will be some cool phone messages left on Don May's answering machine ala Van Bebber. Those were classic!!

--Ian

#5 of 37 OFFLINE   Will*B

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Posted August 25 2004 - 10:18 PM

now that's a press release that gets me stoked to see the film


Whilst I don't doubt the integrity of Synapse, this all sounds very similar to the Deadbeat at Dawn situation back in 2000.

Nothing like a bit of controversy to stir things up...
 

 


#6 of 37 OFFLINE   Don May Jr

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Posted August 26 2004 - 12:22 AM

And it IS similar and not an effort to "stir things up".

The director of THRILLER is delusional and he has been seriously harassing us. He is also trying to defame us nationwide to our distributors and many DVD info sites.

You wouldn't believe the websites and internet DVD sales sites that have been contacted by this guy and, in an effort to explain our side of the story and get the REAL word out, I feel it is necessary to respond to him this way. This is not a publicity stunt to conjure up more sales.

I believe this guy is seriously mentally ill. He cannot even contact people using his own name and has concocted some alias under an anonymous email to slam us on the internet and in press (FILM COMMENT has quoted him as saying our release is a "bootleg").

This, is course, is hogwash. Our release is 100% legal, legitimate and we lawfully hold the home video rights to his film.

This all started because of Quentin Tarantino talking about the film as an influence for KILL BILL. Boarne is so delusional that he thinks, because of this publicity, his little movie he shot on 16mm over 30 years ago is now worth MILLIONS because Quentin has talked it up. The problem is, we bought the rights to his film before KILL BILL was even made and he has what we call "seller's remourse". He sold the rights for a low amount of money and, now that his film is touted by Tarantino, he thinks it's worth a fortune. So, in an efffort to re-sell his movie for more money, he has completely convinced himself that our deal is invalid and illegal. Probably not too hard to believe really, from a guy who runs around telling people his name is really "Otto".

Since this went down, I have received numerous Boarne emails from others that just show how completely insane he is. One guy sent me an email conversation he had with Boarne, two days after the September 11th attacks, where Boarne was making fun of the situation. Just yesterday, I received this email, from a DVD distributor, that I will print here for your viewing pleasure:

HERE YA GO!
___________________________
Tony

everything is very clear.

This is a classical scam business.

CHROME did not fulfill their agreement, the original agreement with CHANNEL
1 was cancelled / just as the cancellation paragraph says in original agreement/

Chrome did not have the right to transfer this non valid agreement.

SYNAPSE FILMS Don May Jr has from the very beginning been informed about this.

Don May Jr has not once been in contact with Channel 1- Fridolinski, not answered any mails reg. letters etc

Only contacts, unpleasant letters from a Fiedler - lawyer - that charges us 200USD FOR EVERY LETTER HE SENDS.
Is that common in USA?

Are there to many -laywers- in the USA ??

Don May Jr. is declaring war on european talent instead of having Fridolinski on his side promoting , and then been able to
distribute -BREAKING POINT - plus be able to co produce-distribute -
THRILLER II -


There must be lack of oxygen on Don May´s planet, or did he hurt his head as an infant??

There will be an end to this American scam business!!!!!!

Otto van der Leyfen
CHANNEL 1
Asogatan 194, 3rd fl.
SE- 116 32 Stockholm
Sweden


------------------------


Nice... he loves us Americans, I guess. This is similar in spelling and tone to the emails he's been sending out to try and "defame" us. It's ridiculous...

Well, us smaller DVD companies, unfortunately, have to deal with this a lot. We tend to have to deal with some very, uh, "eccentric" filmmakers who think their films are better than everyone elses. Synapse is not alone, however.... look at what happened to those poor Barrrel Entertainment guys and their release of LAST HOUSE ON DEAD END STREET. What happened to them is just as bad (and arguably worse) than what we had to deal with for the DEADBEAT AT DAWN release.

I guess my REAL concern is this. I thought we were ALL from the same planet. If Boarne is wondering about my lack of oxygen, then what planet exactly is HE from?
Kindest Regards,

Don May, Jr. - President, Synapse Films
http://www.synapse-films.com

#7 of 37 OFFLINE   Brian Thibodeau

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Posted August 26 2004 - 01:13 AM

Don,

I've been reading about your troubles with Vibenius over at Mobius and all of this has only made me more eager to own the DVD. While I have doubts you'll make the "millions" on it that Vibenius believe's it's now worth (thanks to Tarantino), I sincerely hope you turn a decent profit. It's a great film in its own way and I'm among the many who've been waiting to see it uncut for a good long time.

Too bad Vibenius can't channel all this anger and negativity into that alleged sequel. Has the guy even done anything in the last twenty years?

#8 of 37 OFFLINE   Will*B

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Posted August 26 2004 - 06:53 AM

Don,

I didn't mean to imply that Synapse weren't being completely straight, and I'm sorry if you took what I said that way. I own quite a few Synapse releases, and have already pre-ordered Thriller, and am looking forward to it very much - as I do with all your releases.

All I meant is that you seem to have bad luck with temperamental filmmakers!

Hope everything works out with what promises to be a superb release.

Regards,
Will*B
 

 


#9 of 37 OFFLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted August 26 2004 - 07:46 AM

I am familiar with the Thriller situation at Synapse.

This is NOT a publicity stunt.

On another Synapse front, I've had an opportunity to view a test pressing of a little picture entitled Lemora.

Beautiful transfer; very interesting little horror film which I'm certain will be on many "wish" lists.

RAH

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#10 of 37 OFFLINE   Rich Malloy

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Posted August 26 2004 - 07:59 AM

Quote:
Since this went down, I have received numerous Boarne emails from others that just show how completely insane he is.
Not quite sure of the legal implications of publishing these, but a nice text "extra" on your release could be a series of Boarne's wackier emails to you (and others) regarding the DVD. I think it'd be a hoot, and would likely provide some psychological insight into the maker of the film.
"Only one is a wanderer;
Two together are always going somewhere."

#11 of 37 OFFLINE   Don May Jr

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Posted August 26 2004 - 11:22 AM

We have YEARS of crazy messages, letters, faxes, etc. from Boarne. My lawyer actually suggested to me this week that we should make the letters available on our site. He didn't think there was anything Boarne could do if we DID publish them on the site.

Might be a pain to scan them all and put them up, but you'd be amazed at the content of some of these.
Kindest Regards,

Don May, Jr. - President, Synapse Films
http://www.synapse-films.com

#12 of 37 OFFLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted August 26 2004 - 12:03 PM

By copyright law, content is owned by the addressee.

RAH

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#13 of 37 OFFLINE   Ian_H

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Posted August 26 2004 - 02:04 PM

Quote:
We have YEARS of crazy messages, letters, faxes, etc. from Boarne. My lawyer actually suggested to me this week that we should make the letters available on our site. He didn't think there was anything Boarne could do if we DID publish them on the site.



Please put them up. I still dig up my CD-R of the Van Bebber calls whenever I watch Deadbeat At Dawn!


--Ian

#14 of 37 OFFLINE   Don May Jr

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Posted August 27 2004 - 02:45 AM

I'll ask my attorney about the letters and copyrights, Robert. But, that being said, Charles didn't seem to think there would be a problem... perhaps we'll just put a © Copyright Boarne Vibenius on each note.

In any case, I don't think any of the "Otto" emails are a problem since "Otto" doesn't exist anyway. Although, it would be a hoot to see Boarne try and take us to court for showing folks his fake-named fellow's defaming emails. Posted Image

Oh, the joys of the video business. I need to just win the lotto and retire! HEH!
Kindest Regards,

Don May, Jr. - President, Synapse Films
http://www.synapse-films.com

#15 of 37 OFFLINE   Rich Malloy

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Posted August 27 2004 - 02:48 AM

Would that be Otto van der Leyfen of Vanderley Industries? I think he's an architect. Or possibly a latex salesman.
"Only one is a wanderer;
Two together are always going somewhere."

#16 of 37 OFFLINE   Russell G

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Posted October 08 2004 - 03:39 AM

Does anyone know the availability on this title, especially in Canada?

I haven't seen it in any stores, and currently have it backordered through Amazon.ca

Any suggestions? I'm trying to buy canadian, eh, but I well stray cross borders to get this, I just don't want a hassel importing it.

Any suggetions would help!

#17 of 37 OFFLINE   Matt-R

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Posted October 08 2004 - 04:50 AM

Russell:

I don't know either. I preordered it from dvdsoon. My order still says "pending". Last night I sent them an email asking about the situation. This is the reply I got:


"Dear Sir;

Unfortunately this item has not yet started shipping from the manufacturer. They have not given word as to what is going on at the moment however we are continuously trying to get more information from them. I apologize for the inconvenience.

------------------------------
Natasha Bonfield
Customer Service Center
Centre De Service à la Clientèle
DVDSoon.com"


I don't know what I should do. I really want this dvd but I don't want to risk importing it over the border. I think I might cancel my order and try amazon.ca which says it ships in 11-12 days (but I guess that basically means they don't have it in stock either).

#18 of 37 OFFLINE   Rich Malloy

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Posted October 08 2004 - 04:52 AM

I just got received "Thriller" yesterday as a Netflix rental (haven't watched it yet). It's out there somewhere!
"Only one is a wanderer;
Two together are always going somewhere."

#19 of 37 OFFLINE   Russell G

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Posted October 08 2004 - 06:53 AM

I ordered t Oct 6 form Amazon.ca, and they have a delivery date of oct 20 - nov 5. I'm going to keep hunting locally, and cancel the order if I find it. I guess I'm not the only Canadian having trouble.

#20 of 37 OFFLINE   Tanner

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Posted October 08 2004 - 07:05 AM

I received mine earlier this week from DeepDiscountDVD.com, so it's out there.





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