People/Biz

Lawsuit launched over Malick’s doc project

Finance firm Seven Seas Limited Partnership has launched a lawsuit against Terrence Malick's Sycamore Pictures, claiming the director failed to deliver a doc project as promised. (pictured: Malick's To the Wonder)
July 22, 2013

London-based finance firm Seven Seas Limited Partnership has launched a lawsuit against Terrence Malick’s Sycamore Pictures, claiming the director has failed to deliver his doc project Voyage of Time as promised.

The project was to comprise two 45-minute Imax films and a feature-length movie, focusing on evolution and the creation of the universe.

The lawsuit (available here via Deadline) accuses Sycamore of “complete failure to produce the… films as agreed and contracted, despite stringing their financial investors along with the promise of extraordinary and successful works.”

Seven Seas said it had invested US$3.3 million into the doc project, which was supposed to be delivered on May 1 this year, but has “nothing to show for it.” It alleges that the money was instead used to help fund Malick’s recent fiction projects, such as To the Wonder (pictured above) and The Tree of Life.

The London-based firm wants its $3.3 million back, along with any film footage and other intellectual property from the Voyage project, which has also received $2.5 million in funding from another, unnamed investor.

“Sycamore has blown through nearly $6 million over the last six years on this project with nothing to show for it,” said Seven Seas counsel Dan K. Webb, an attorney at Winston & Strawn, in a statement.

“Our contract specified that funds were to be used exclusively for Voyage but we believe some were redirected to other films Malick was producing during that period, in flagrant disregard for our agreement.”

In a statement given to Deadline, Sycamore’s lawyer Maura Wogan, of Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz, hit back. “The claims of Seven Seas are without merit,” she responded.

“The film was on budget, on schedule, and all funds were used appropriately. Additionally, Seven Seas’ decision to file this lawsuit under the cover of darkness and go public before presenting Sycamore with a copy of the suit itself speaks to the weakness of the allegations.”

In addition to being somewhat reclusive, Malick is renowned in Hollywood for spending long stretches of time working on his films. In the nearly 40 years between 1973′s Badlands and 2011′s The Tree of Life, he directed just five films.

Malick’s Sycamore Pictures is a different company from and should not be confused with the producer of The Way, Way Back, which is also called Sycamore Pictures.

About The Author
Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.

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