ThinkFilm exec's calendar filled with lawsuits
Recent accusations include improperly distributing a filmEven as producer David Bergstein plows ahead in the movie business, the lawsuits and judgments continue to pile on.
The latest to come to light are a lawsuit for alleged failure to properly distribute a movie, a judgment by a Las Vegas casino against Bergstein personally and a Canadian court order taking away ownership of the ThinkFilm name.
This comes only days after Bergstein and his silent partner Ron Tutor were sued by a New York hedge fund for $120 million — even as their Capitol Films unit was selling international rights to movies at AFM under its new name, the Pangea Media Group.
Capitol Film and ThinkFilm were sued Oct. 22 by Solar Filmworks of South Carolina for $10 million in Los Angeles Superior Court alleging fraud, breach of contract, false promises and negligent misrepresentation.
Solar claims that in January 2007, ThinkFilm acquired distribution rights to its feature film “The Last Confederate, the True Story of Robert Adams” but failed to give it the theatrical release that was promised or to sell it to television. The suit says Bergstein’s company improperly bundled the movie with others as part of a package sold for home video release.
At first, according to the Solar suit, ThinkFilm provided accounting reports per the contract and even made some payments, but that stopped midway through last year.
Hartford Brown, an attorney for Solar, said Bergstein and his company have until Dec. 11 to file a legal response.
On Nov. 6, the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino won a judgment in a Nevada court against Bernstein for $1.035 million plus $36,750 in interest. An attorney for Mandalay refused to comment.
And in June, a judgment was entered in Ontario (Canada) Superior Court against Bergstein and his companies, including ThinkFilm and Capco Group, which declared them in default on a debt of $670,000. The suit was filed against ThinkFilm by Bachi Corp. after it was acquired by Disney.
Under terms of the court order, Bergstein and his companies were ordered to pay $670,000 and for defaulting were stripped of their security interest, which included the ThinkFilm name and legal trademark and ownership rights to four movies — “The Circuit,” “Flight of Fancy,” “Guaranteed on Delivery” and “Sometimes a Hero.”
As of Tuesday, a Capitol Web site was still using the ThinkFilm name, and executives at Bergstein’s film company still identify themselves with ThinkFilm-related corporate titles.
Bergstein and Tutor acquired ThinkFilm, including the trademark, offices in New York and Toronto and a film library, for about $25 million in 2006. According to the Canadian suit, a lawyer for Bergstein said ThinkFilm as a corporation was voluntarily dissolved in February 2008.
Disney, through a spokesman, declined comment. Bergstein did not return a phone call seeking comment.