'Occupy Wall Street' Filmmakers Claim Iran's TV Authorities Stiffed Them
Blazing Kat Productions demands at least $250,000 for the filming of American protesters.
Iran might be considered by some in the United States to be an evil autocratic regime, but at least
the country is not prone to Hollywood-style breach of contract lawsuits.
Proving that contracts are important in the land of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Islamic Republic Broadcasting, the 24-hour English news foreign network owned by the Iranian state, is being sued by filmmakers who say that money is owed for work.
The lawsuit was filed in Texas federal court on Tuesday by Blazing Kat Productions, a company that says it makes documentaries.
Blazing Kat says it entered into two contracts with Press TV, which the plaintiff believes to be one and the same as Iran's TV unit.
One of those contracts was allegedly entered into in December 2011 and obligated the filmmakers to "deliver audio/video episodes of 'OWS Week' to PTV."
According to PressTV's OWS Week page, the show "highlights 7 days of the protest movement's happenings as viewed from American protesters' eyes while also examining the wide range of social issues addressed by the 'occupy' movement in the US."
Another contract was for a documentary entitled 99ers.
Evidently, the filmmakers weren't shooting out of the generosity of their hearts. The compensation for the documentary was supposed to be $72,000 and unspecified money was also allegedly due for OWS Week.
Blazing Kat is demanding at least $250,000 for breach of contract.
One might wonder whether Islamic Republic Broadcasting, no matter what a judge and jury decides, will submit themselves to the jurisdiction of a Texas court.
The plaintiffs, including Nader Mokhtari, identified as a managing member of Blazing Kat, appear to have an odd strategy on how to get their money. In their prayer for relief, they seek "an order by this Court to PTV to cease and desist any attempt to cash or redeem a Bank Melli Iran check written on Nader Mokhtari's personal account at Bank Melli Iran Lavassan branch in the amount of JR rials 1,420,000,000 (USD 109,230.77 at the official rate of exchange) and bonds written to the same value."
Here's the lawsuit, which includes a copy of one of the alleged contracts at issue.