Who Owns Allen Ross? | Letters | Chicago Reader

Who Owns Allen Ross? 

Hey editors!

Maybe Jack Helbig, who wrote a story for the Reader several years ago on the disappearance of Chicago filmmaker Allen Ross, does deserve more than a cursory mention in the end credits of Christian Bauer's new documentary on the same subject. But Deanna Isaacs's column on the, er, controversy [Culture Club, December 14] seems to suggest that the film is little more than "the article illustrated," and that Helbig deserves, I don't know, some sort of screenwriter credit (or maybe a nice fat royalty check) because his story "introduced" "all the major characters" who appear in Bauer's documentary. Of course, the "characters" Isaacs mentions--the late Ross, his wife, his father, his brother, and other Chicago filmmakers--aren't fictional characters but, you know, actual people. They are, in fact, the very first people any documentarian would think to interview in doing a story on the subject, and Helbig has no more claim to their stories than Bauer does--or, for that matter, than I do.

Still, if anyone is interested, I'd be happy to sell the film rights to this letter to the editor for a reasonable sum. Contact my agent.

David Futrelle


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