Distributor to Release Ministry Movie Despite Lawsuit | Bleader

Friday, April 22, 2011

Distributor to Release Ministry Movie Despite Lawsuit

Posted By on 04.22.11 at 06:10 PM

Ministry bassist Paul Barker and director Doug Freel at the premiere of Fix: The Ministry Movie

  • Ministry bassist Paul Barker and director Doug Freel at the premiere of "Fix: The Ministry Movie"

The distributor of Fix: The Ministry Movie says he's going ahead with plans to release the film, despite a lawsuit from the band's front man, Al Jourgensen.

"We're still selling the movie," says Ed Bates, whose company Gigantic Pictures acquired the film's distribution rights last year. "We're excited to go into court and prove our case . . . [Jourgensen and his wife Angie] have done this stuff before. They're bullies. No one's ever hit back. They're going to feel the pain."

I left a phone message with Angie Jourgensen seeking comment from her or her husband, but she hasn't yet returned my call. Their lawyer, Stephen Moeller, declined to comment.

Jourgensen filed suit last Friday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, alleging that Bates, Gigantic, and Fix director Doug Freel have failed to give him contractually required final-cut approval of the film or pay him $70,000 for life-story rights.

Jourgensen is suing for compensatory damages "no less than $250,000," unspecified punitive damages, and a "preliminary and permanent injunction, prohibiting Defendants from any further exhibition or exploitation of the Picture," according to the legal complaint.

"The motion picture 'Fix' which is being offered for exhibition to the public is a Picture which has never been authorized by Mr. Jourgensen, and which is being exhibited in direct violation of his contractual and personal rights," the complaint alleges.

Bates disputes a Wednesday LA Times blog post, which states that the suit would prevent him from shopping Fix at the Cannes Film Market in May.

Freel maintains that he fulfilled his obligation to get Jourgensen's approval of all the footage in the film. Freel and Bates both claim that the $70,000 the film's production company Fix LLC owes Jourgensen has no bearing on Bates's right to distribute the film.

The suit came a day after Fix's world premiere at the Music Box as the opening-night film of the Chicago International Movies & Music Festival. Music Box staff ejected Jourgensen's manager, Dave Frey, from the premiere after witnesses reported that Frey was videotaping the screening.

"Not sure I have a lot to say until I'm deposed or countersued," Frey says. "I can say there wasn't a restraining order in Illinois for CIMM," which he claims would have located the case here, not in California. He says rights holders with a stake in the case, including Warner Music publishing arm Warner/Chappell, "prefer LA as the venue."

"Perhaps I could quote Burt Bacharach," Frey says. "It's only just begun."

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