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Welcome to New York: The Feud Continues

Abel Ferrara Sees His Freedom of Speech Violated

In Abel Ferrara's Welcome to New York, Gerard Depardieu plays a character inspired by Dominique Strauss-Kahn and that film wants to be shown in US cinemas. But the director and distributor IFC Films can't come to an agreement which version should be shown there. According to Ferrara's contract, he has the final cut privilege  but is also contractually obligated to deliver a version that can receive the MPAA's R rating. That should be possible with a few cuts that take the edge of some of the more sexual scenes. But apparently that's not enough for IFC because it looks like that they want their own version of the movie in which the changes far exceed aspects such as youth protection and MPAA guidelines.

As the Hollywood Reporter informs, Ferrara went to court to prevent IFC from showing a modified version of his film that also has moral and political adjustments within the plot. The legal steps also include Wild Bunch, the international distributor. Ferrara sees these changes as a violation of his contractual rights to have the final cut.

IFC reacted shortly after these reports and issued a statement:

IFC: On March 27th, we will be releasing on VOD and in select theaters the version of Welcome to New York that has been delivered to us by Wild Bunch, in accordance with our contractual obligation. Any edits made to the original version of Welcome to New York were made by Wild Bunch, since Mr. Ferrara did not respond to our offer.

In case that's true - and it seems rather comprehensible - the problems seem to be rooted more in France where there are also legal battles with Dominique Strauss-Kahn who was a prospect for the French presidency before the scandal became public. He views the film as a defamation.

After IFC's statement, Ferrara refined his blame and said that his biggest issue is that IFC doesn't want to show the unrated but the "R"-rated version.

Ferrara may be a little happier when he looks at other countries and how they handled his film's release in the meantime. Germany got the unrated version on DVD and Blu-ray, the UK Blu-ray has both versions on board.

Release: Mar 28, 2015 - Author: Das Wiesel - Translator: Mike Lowrey

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