Zinnemann Ruling a Victory for Artists Rights

Los Angeles, California, UNITED STATES

ROME, Oct. 27, 2005 (PRIMEZONE) -- Martin Scorsese, Chair of The Film Foundation, announced that an Italian Court has ruled that a television company in Italy violated the moral rights of famed film director, Fred Zinnemann, when it broadcast the colorized version of "The Seventh Cross"(1944). TV Internazionale, which showed the film twice, once in 1996 and again in 1997, was banned from ever showing the film again in colorized form, required to destroy all colorized copies of the film, and ordered to pay damages.

In 1999, Tim Zinnemann filed the complaint as the son and heir of Fred Zinnemann, director of such legendary works as "High Noon,"(1952) "From Here to Eternity,"(1953) and "A Man for All Seasons"(1966). Zinnemann made "The Seventh Cross"(1944), a drama about the horrors of pre-World War II Nazi Germany, in black and white as a deliberate, artistic choice. In the litigation, conducted by Arnold Lutzker, Washington DC, in coordination with Francesco Rampone and Maria L. Cuichini, Studio Legale Chiomenti, Rome, Italy, Zinnemann charged that the airing of the altered version of the film damaged his father's artistic honor and reputation. With its final ruling in favor of Zinnemann, the court sent a clear message that Italian law stands behind the rights of all film artists, regardless of nationality.

The Artists Rights Education and Legal Defense Fund Council, established by the Board of Directors of The Film Foundation, supported the Zinnemann family in this case, and considers the ruling an affirmation that the director is the author of the motion picture and that the integrity of the work is entitled to protection and preservation. The concept of "moral rights" maintains that the altering of a work without the artist's permission can harm the reputation or honor of the artist and is therefore unacceptable. Therefore, this ruling ensures that filmmakers' work is protected from alteration when it is exhibited in Italy.

Elliot Silverstein, Chair of the Artists Rights council, stated, "This decision has been a victory for film directors. But it is ironic that there is more protection for an American director in Italy than there would be for the work of an Italian director in the United States or even for an American director in his/her own country."

In making clear its interest in safeguarding the moral rights of film directors, Italy joins France, where another artists' rights case has been decided. In 1991, the Supreme Court of France ruled that the colorized version of "The Asphalt Jungle"(1950, d. John Huston) could not be distributed in theaters or broadcast on television without the director's approval.

The Film Foundation

The Film Foundation is the most prominent nonprofit organization dedicated to film preservation in the United States. Through substantial annual funding to the nation's leading film archives and organizations, the foundation works to preserve and restore a broad range of films including classic Hollywood productions, avant-garde works, documentaries, and silent pictures from the earliest days of cinema. The cultural institutions supported by The Film Foundation provide U.S. and international communities with vital access to our collective film treasures.

Established in 1990 by Martin Scorsese and a distinguished group of fellow filmmakers -- Woody Allen, Robert Altman, Francis Ford Coppola, Clint Eastwood, Stanley Kubrick, George Lucas, Sydney Pollack, Robert Redford, and Steven Spielberg -- the foundation is dedicated to protecting and preserving our cinematic heritage. In 2002, The Film Foundation consolidated with the Artists Rights Foundation of the Directors Guild of America, creating a new sub-committee, the Artists Rights Education and Legal Defense Fund Council, to advise the board on issues related to the protection and expansion of artists' rights. The council includes: Elliot Silverstein (Chair), Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, Milos Forman, Taylor Hackford, Dustin Hoffman, Anjelica Huston, Bruce Ramer, and Ken Ziffren.

The Film Foundation company logo can be found at: http://www.primezone.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=2015


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