Having taken him the best part of 30 years, filmmaker Terry Gilliam finally completed his passion project The Man Who Killed Don Quixote this year, only for the saga to have one final twist in the tale.
In May, former producer Paulo Branco launched a legal dispute over the rights to the movie, which cost the film its Amazon distribution deal, as well as putting the Cannes premiere in jeopardy.
While a court ruled in favour of Gilliam with regards to the Cannes screening, allowing it to go ahead, the Paris Court of Appeal has now sided with Branco and his Alfama Films, granting him full ownership of the film.
“The ruling means that the rights to the film belong to Alfama,” Branco told Screen Daily. “Any exploitation of the film up until now has been completely illegal and without the authorisation of Alfama. We will be seeking damages with interest from all the people involved in this illegal production and above all, all those who were complicit in its illegal exploitation.”
“We’re holding everyone responsible,” he continued.” The film’s producers, Kinology, all the others who supported the film, including those who distributed the film in France and the Cannes Film Festival, everyone. The film belongs in its entirety to Alfama. The film was made illegally. It’s the first time, I’ve ever seen so many people embark on a mission to produce and exploit a film, without holding the rights. It’s a unique case.”
As yet, Gilliam is yet to issue a response to the ruling.
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote follows Toby, a jaded commercials director who travels to Spain for a shoot and comes across a gypsy who gives a copy of his student film — a lyrical re-working of the Don Quixote story set in a quaint old Spanish village. Moved by the discovery, Toby sets off on a bizarre road trip to find the little village where the student student film was shot and gets caught up in a series of catastrophies.
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote features a cast that includes Jonathan Pryce (Game of Thrones) as Quixote and Adam Driver (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) as Toby, while the rest of the cast includes Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace), Stellan Skarsgård (Avengers: Age of Ultron), Joana Ribeiro (A Uma Hora Incerta), Eva Basteiro-Bertoli (Black Bread) and Rossy de Palma (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown).