David Bergstein film sale canceled

March 30 hearing set to sort trustee issue

The planned sale of rights to more than 800 movies that are part of the Capitol, ThinkFilm, Franchise and other film libraries scheduled for Monday has been canceled in the wake of the involuntary bankruptcy filing by a group of creditors against David Bergstein and five of the companies he controls.

The federal bankruptcy court in Los Angeles has set March 30 for a hearing on whether to appoint a trustee to take over for Bergstein and current management as requested. The filing was first reported Thursday by THR.com.

The case has been assigned to Judge Barry Russell, who has been on the bench since 1974, making him the longest-serving bankruptcy court judge in California and the second-longest serving in the U.S. Russell also has served as the chief judge of the bankruptcy court for the Central District of California.

Russell oversaw a case involving Bergstein in the late 1990s when the DVD Express online retailer went under.

The involuntary bankruptcy case filed this week came about after more than three months of efforts to pull together creditors led by David Molner, managing director of Screen Capital International, and the Aramid Entertainment Fund, which has financed the legal action.

On Friday, Molner called for other creditors of various Bergstein-related companies to join the suit and appear in court for the hearing. "Now is the time for the injured or aggrieved to come forward," he said. "As our big day in court draws near, I suspect their numbers are legion."

Calls and e-mails requesting comment from Ray Reyes -- Bergstein's in-house lawyer at Pangea Media Group who was overseeing the sale of 805 titles -- and an attorney representing Bergstein and his movie business partner Ron Tutor were not returned.
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