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Terry Gilliam loses the rights to The Man Who Killed Don Quixote in court ruling

Contributed by
Jun 17, 2018

The Sisyphean epic that is the making of The Man Who Killed Don Quixote continues. After 20 years of development, failed productions and a number of false starts, writer-director Terry Gilliam managed to fully film, edit and even screen his film. However, he lost a court battle this weekend over the rights of the movie.
    The ruling from the Paris Court of Appeal, originally reported by Screenrant, says that former producer Paul Branco owns the rights to the film. The Portugese producer signed a contract with Gilliam to produce the film in 2016 with his production company Alfama Films. Their collaboration fell through, and Gilliam pushed forward to film the movie in 2017. Branco filed suit, and this weekend the court ruled that he has the rights to the movie.
    Branco said that he could not believe the film was actually made by other parties, telling Screen Daily:
    “The ruling means that the rights to the film belong to Alfama. Any exploitation of the film up until now has been completely illegal and without the authorisation of Alfama,” said Branco. “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.”
    As part of the ruling, the Paris Court of Appeal said that Gilliam also has to pay €10,000 to Alfama Films.
    Loosely based on Miguel de Cervantes' iconic novel, the film follows  an advertising executive (The Last Jedi's Adam Driver) who gets mistaken for Sancho Panza by an elderly man (Jonathan Pryce) who thinks he is Don Quixote. This potentially final version of the film also stars Stellan Skarsgard and Olga Kurylenko.
    The film did see the light of day at the Cannes Film Festival this year, closing out the festival and earning a standing ovation. However, before that, Amazon Studios, which also funded the film, announced it would no longer distribute the film in the United States. The Man Who Killed Don Quixote was scheduled to be released throughout the rest of the year in Europe.
    Gilliam's struggle to get the film finished and in theaters seems like it will continue for a bit longer.