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 Spanish Dune Fan Film
Omphalos
Posted: Aug 22 2007, 11:41 PM


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I just got this PM over at DN. My response is at the bottom. This is about the fan effort in Malaga Spain to film the three novellas of Dune, and produce a truly independent 8 hour film. The trailer ran on YouTube for a very short time, and it was awesome. Apparently the HLP has decided that this is something that cannot be made ever, even after the negotiations and possible production of the new Dune film is completed (and even if it isnt made). Too bad, because this thing looked so cool.


QUOTE ("mediteatro")
Hi! We are the authors of the Dune Fan Video Film.

Sorry, we have not answered before, but we wanted to talk previously with the Herbert Family and the HLP for respect and education.
After a few emails, the final answer they have given is that we are not allowed to show you all the Fan Film for free as soon as we had finished it, because of the contracts and the copyright. We communicate you our decission: with great sorrow and impotence we have abandoned the project.  There is no way.
Dune Fan Video Film was a 100% Fan Film made by a group of young Spanish students. A (very) low budget 8 hours length Fan Trilogy based on the Frank Herbertīs first DUNE novel, with a 7 years production made for fans by fans, with non commercial purposes and born from our great admiration for the DUNE Universe. We are amazed for your high consideration and your hesitation whether it is a fan film or not. It has been shot with VHS and Mini-DV cameras and has been edited in our PCs at home. We have been extremely accurate to the novel (our adaptation has been with no doubt the most one) Our illusion was to share our work with you by posting it for free in the web and to contribute with our effort and illusion to the DUNE Universe. An universe in which we have lived the last 10 year of our lives. A huge and serious work which may seem crazy.

We tried to respect at all time the spirit of Frank Herbertīs creation, his person and his family. And with our project we wanted to pay a tribute to him. Based on this respect, we transmited inmediately the Herbert Family the existence of our trailer. From the beginning, we tried to make everything clear about our Fan Film and its non commercial purposes, and we offered to make any necesary modification, publicity or its inmediate retreat in a friendly way, in case they considered it. Unfortunately, the feelings it caused on them and the answer we received, was not at all what we expected.

Our project had not commercial purposes and it had not financing or support from any company or institution. Everything was made with our hands and paid with our pocket money. The actors were our friends and relatives, who have put up with our passion for the Frank Herbert novels for years. The locations were our houses and public buildings: Malaga,our town, is 3.000 years old and we have been lucky to shoot on every kind of location, from morish palaces to middle-age castles and real dunes.
The special effects and the editing were made in a personal computer at home without great economical costs. For example, the eyes of the Fremen were painted frame by frame (30 frames per second, several persons on each frame) The postproduction work has been hard, difficult and huge.

Unfortunately, we will not never be able to show it because we are not allowed to it. Therefore we abandon the trilogy unanimously and totally. We will not finish the movies because it does not make any sense. It is a pity, after so much enthusiasm: we are now deeply disappointed and our fan spirit is dead. Given that there is not and there will not be permission for any DUNE adaptation made by fans, we have abandoned the Fan Film. The project is dead and only the memories and the dust are left. There is no more illusion.

We still have the hope on showing the trailer in our web and we are waiting for the Herbertīs Family permission. We consider that a 4 minutes length trailer would not create a copyright problem and would be the only way to feel that our 7 years work has been valued and it has not been worthless. We would like to feel that we have been respected as fans and people, something basic in any fan community.

We are deeply grateful to Byron Merritt for his interest and his support. He has been a kind connection in our conversations with the Herbert Limited Partnership. Unfortunately it has been worthless.
We also thank the interest shown by the real DUNE Fans through emails, youtube posts, webs and forums.

Long live the fighters!!!!!   150 spanish Dune fans.


I am so sorry to hear this. I could taste your entheusiasm for the project, and I really was looking forward to seeing the complete version. I fail to undertand why the HLP makes decisions like this. I personally have felt your pain. I was working on an annotated version of Dune, and I tried to put together a fan based effort to edit and republish every work Frank Herbert had written in a nice leather-bound set, and while Byron Merritt supported me in both endeavours, the HLP said no, and the projects died ingracious deaths because of lack of permission to use the original works. You have my heart-felt thanks for what you did produce, though. It was awesome, inspiring, and exciting.
^
Nekhrun
Posted: Aug 22 2007, 11:48 PM


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I just saw this on the "other" site.

My response, that I didn't post over there is:

WHAT??!!! That is unbelievable! It's in Spanish for God's sake I doubt it would cause any hassle for anyone in Hollywood. Fan films are now banned? Look at the enthusiasm that George Lucas was able to generate after embracing fanfilms like Troops. That is very sad to hear. I think a huge opportunity is being missed here.

I received a similar denial when I asked if I could make an electronic copy of Dune that I could use in the classroom. Brian initially said yes, and was very cool about the whole thing, but after meeting with the lawyer he was advised to tell me no.

Byron keeps talking about how great it is that the new books have generated interest in Dune again, but here are two examples where the HLP keeps this from happening in meaningful ways. Just when I thought I couldn't be any more frustrated. :mad:
^
SandChigger
Posted: Aug 22 2007, 11:59 PM


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Way to go, HLP!

Ars gratia pecuniae!

(For the non-Latinophile among you, that's ART FOR THE SAKE OF MONEY.)

It's all about the benjamins.
^
Crysknife
Posted: Aug 23 2007, 12:10 AM


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F&*K! This really pisses me off. I agree with Nekhrun that this film would have only created more interest. What a bonehead move by the HLP......too busy watching their asses and assets and not listening to fans.
^
Nekhrun
Posted: Aug 23 2007, 12:24 AM


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What is the point of all this? FH's Dune has lessons for people in the areas of philosophy, religion, politics, ecology, propaganda, the human condition, etc., etc. There are a lot of people in this country that still don't know anything about Dune. Projects like the one Omphalos mentioned, the fanfilm, my Dune class are all resources people could use to spread the wisdom Frank Herbert handed down to us. It is more than some silly little space story.

I know Brian and Byron at least are on board with this kind of serious advancement of Dune, but then the work is halted when excitement is created. Who the hell is advising them to halt this kind of dedication to Frank's work? I'm sorry, but the books coming out now and the new rules on the message board are just not cutting it. They are the exact opposite of lessons learned in the originals (why else would The Preacher be able to get so many quotes about the current state of the franchise?). The depth needs to be brought back to these works. I doubt that it's just about money. Is there any doubt that other Dune projects would be successful if done thoughtfully?
^
Crysknife
Posted: Aug 23 2007, 12:31 AM


God Emperor of Dune
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My last post was deleted. Byron made it seem like it was a decision by the lawyers rather than a HLP choice. They just don't want any problems with the new movie that might get done, and I can understand that.

I just wish this fan flick could be finished in the hopes of it being released one day.
^
Ol' Dune Dude
Posted: Aug 23 2007, 12:31 AM


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I cannot tell you how bummed I was about this! I REALLY wanted to see this film. But there are other "circumstances" surrounding the film rights (currently in negotiations) that have attorneys on both sides worrying about infringements. This wasn't the HLP's call. We had to go with our/their attorneys' advice.
^
Hypatia
Posted: Aug 23 2007, 12:58 AM


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I guess it never occurred to your attorneys that given the years of negotiating and pre-production these projects take, by the time those fans were finished their film, some of them would have been the perfect people to hire for the making of a commercial Dune film? They had the dedication, they would have had the experience... now all they have are memories and the knowledge of being stomped on by the very family they wanted to honor. :mad:
^
SandChigger
Posted: Aug 23 2007, 01:12 AM


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Yeah...and if that movie deal falls through for some reason (it's still not definite, right?), then TWO movie projects will have died. What kind of infringements could there be on something not made yet from something that has been in production for several years? (Given the general apparent level of creativity in the American film industry these days, shouldn't the Spanish fans be the ones worried about about THEIR ideas being stolen?) Infringement of exclusive filming rights, is that it?

Sheesh.

It seems to me the whole copyright/IP thing has gotten out of control. As I understand it, the original idea of copyright was to ensure that creative people received proper credit and remuneration for the expression of their ideas, to prevent others from copying their work and laying claim to it, NOT to preclude the creation of new works, however derivative.

I've posted about this before, but in Japanese classical poetry there was a practice called honkadori (lit. "true/original-poem-taking") in which one poet would take a line or two from the poem of another poet and add lines of his or her own. The most prized results were those that provided deeper insights into the original or threw it into a startling new light. The literate/literary class at the time was small and well-versed in the poetic canon, which was also still small enough for an individual to become familiar with most of it. So in most cases the poets didn't cite the original poet, because everyone recognized who and what was being quoted. (The only example from Western poetry I can think of offhand is Raleigh's "The nymph's reply to the shepherd" in reply to Marlowe's "The Passionate Shepherd to his Love".)

Naturally, today it's impossible for one person to be cognizant with everything that is written. That's why we need and have the copyright laws. But when those and other laws stiffle a non-commercial fan tribute to a beloved work, there's something wrong with the world. :mad:
^
Omphalos
Posted: Aug 23 2007, 01:39 AM


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QUOTE (Ol' Dune Dude @ Aug 23 2007, 12:31 AM)
I cannot tell you how bummed I was about this! I REALLY wanted to see this film. But there are other "circumstances" surrounding the film rights (currently in negotiations) that have attorneys on both sides worrying about infringements. This wasn't the HLP's call. We had to go with our/their attorneys' advice.

Nobody brought up the idea of getting a waiver of the right to sue from the writers, producers and distributers of the independent film?
^
Ol' Dune Dude
Posted: Aug 23 2007, 02:03 AM


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QUOTE (SandChigger @ Aug 23 2007, 01:12 AM)
(Given the general apparent level of creativity in the American film industry these days, shouldn't the Spanish fans be the ones worried about about THEIR ideas being stolen?)




Hit the nail on the proverbial head, Chigger. :(
^
Ol' Dune Dude
Posted: Aug 23 2007, 02:05 AM


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QUOTE (Omphalos @ Aug 23 2007, 01:39 AM)
QUOTE (Ol' Dune Dude @ Aug 23 2007, 12:31 AM)
I cannot tell you how bummed I was about this! I REALLY wanted to see this film. But there are other "circumstances" surrounding the film rights (currently in negotiations) that have attorneys on both sides worrying about infringements. This wasn't the HLP's call. We had to go with our/their attorneys' advice.

Nobody brought up the idea of getting a waiver of the right to sue from the writers, producers and distributers of the independent film?

This is an overseas group, and the legal entanglements are far greater than they appear, guys and gals.

I really, REALLY, REALLY wanted to see this! But the film climate right now is very hot and heavy.
^
Phaedrus
Posted: Aug 23 2007, 02:38 AM


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In this case, the bad guy isn't the HLP, it's U.S. copyright law.

Just one more case where "the man" is suppressing creativity and advancement...it's happening across the board.

Exclusive filming rights in a case like this is just ridiculous...if anything, a fan-made Dune film released in a couple of years would BOOST sales and awareness of any "official" Dune film, if such ever gets made in the first place. And if it falls through, the fan film could still be popular and successful, at no loss to anyone!

This is one of those cases where the law makes everyone lose, and it sucks.
^
Omphalos
Posted: Aug 23 2007, 03:19 AM


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QUOTE (Ol' Dune Dude @ Aug 23 2007, 02:05 AM)
QUOTE (Omphalos @ Aug 23 2007, 01:39 AM)
QUOTE (Ol' Dune Dude @ Aug 23 2007, 12:31 AM)
I cannot tell you how bummed I was about this! I REALLY wanted to see this film. But there are other "circumstances" surrounding the film rights (currently in negotiations) that have attorneys on both sides worrying about infringements. This wasn't the HLP's call. We had to go with our/their attorneys' advice.

Nobody brought up the idea of getting a waiver of the right to sue from the writers, producers and distributers of the independent film?

This is an overseas group, and the legal entanglements are far greater than they appear, guys and gals.

I really, REALLY, REALLY wanted to see this! But the film climate right now is very hot and heavy.

Entanglements? Not if they submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of a US Court. That is at most 5-10 lines in an agreement.

And are you telling us, in your response to SC, that the reason this is not getting made is because the Spaniards are interested in preserving their rights to be plaintiffs if the HLP uses their ideas, and not because the HLP wants to protect its right to contract for a Dune film? That is certainly not what you implied above when you said you HAD to follow your attorney's advice. That sounds like you didnt want to mess with your production.

Incidentally, Ive been messaging with these guys all evening. Im pretty sure they would give you their first daughters if they could get this thing made.

And, I have been told that they just applied for membership here. Id like to see if they confirm that or not.
^
Omphalos
Posted: Aug 23 2007, 03:23 AM


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QUOTE (Phaedrus @ Aug 23 2007, 02:38 AM)
In this case, the bad guy isn't the HLP, it's U.S. copyright law.

Just one more case where "the man" is suppressing creativity and advancement...it's happening across the board.

Exclusive filming rights in a case like this is just ridiculous...if anything, a fan-made Dune film released in a couple of years would BOOST sales and awareness of any "official" Dune film, if such ever gets made in the first place. And if it falls through, the fan film could still be popular and successful, at no loss to anyone!

This is one of those cases where the law makes everyone lose, and it sucks.

Dont think that for a minute, Phaedrus. This is an issue that could be resolved by contracting, which would resolve all the copyright issues.

But in the end, its the HLP's product, and they can do whatever they like. FH himself did the same thing to Iron Maiden, I believe.
^
Phaedrus
Posted: Aug 23 2007, 03:32 AM


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QUOTE (Omphalos @ Aug 23 2007, 03:23 AM)
QUOTE (Phaedrus @ Aug 23 2007, 02:38 AM)
In this case, the bad guy isn't the HLP, it's U.S. copyright law.

Just one more case where "the man" is suppressing creativity and advancement...it's happening across the board.

Exclusive filming rights in a case like this is just ridiculous...if anything, a fan-made Dune film released in a couple of years would BOOST sales and awareness of any "official" Dune film, if such ever gets made in the first place.  And if it falls through, the fan film could still be popular and successful, at no loss to anyone!

This is one of those cases where the law makes everyone lose, and it sucks.

Dont think that for a minute, Phaedrus. This is an issue that could be resolved by contracting, which would resolve all the copyright issues.

But in the end, its the HLP's product, and they can do whatever they like. FH himself did the same thing to Iron Maiden, I believe.

Hm. When you put it that way...

(Oh, snap. A rational argument changes someone's opinion on something! GOD FORBID!)
^
Omphalos
Posted: Aug 23 2007, 03:43 AM


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QUOTE (Phaedrus @ Aug 23 2007, 03:32 AM)
QUOTE (Omphalos @ Aug 23 2007, 03:23 AM)
QUOTE (Phaedrus @ Aug 23 2007, 02:38 AM)
In this case, the bad guy isn't the HLP, it's U.S. copyright law.

Just one more case where "the man" is suppressing creativity and advancement...it's happening across the board.

Exclusive filming rights in a case like this is just ridiculous...if anything, a fan-made Dune film released in a couple of years would BOOST sales and awareness of any "official" Dune film, if such ever gets made in the first place.  And if it falls through, the fan film could still be popular and successful, at no loss to anyone!

This is one of those cases where the law makes everyone lose, and it sucks.

Dont think that for a minute, Phaedrus. This is an issue that could be resolved by contracting, which would resolve all the copyright issues.

But in the end, its the HLP's product, and they can do whatever they like. FH himself did the same thing to Iron Maiden, I believe.

Hm. When you put it that way...

(Oh, snap. A rational argument changes someone's opinion on something! GOD FORBID!)

Yea, but this isnt Frank's visceral reaction to Heavy Metal in the context of popular view of his greatest work. Its a carefully thought out financial decision about an asset some lucky kids got in a will.

Now I'm absolutely some of the HLP members are interested in preserving FH's vision. And I'm absolutely certain all of them would like to spread their patriarch's books to the ends of the earth for all to read. But this just is not a case of their attorneys telling them what to do, which is what that last message implies. Its a case of the attorneys telling the HLP what the score is, and the HLP making a decision of what to do with its own asset. End of story. Now I dont doubt that the attorneys put the pressure on; after all, they will likely make a killing when and if this deal goes down. And I'm not even sure who owns the rights at this point, or if they are merely subject to an option. But to suggest that the HLP's hands are tied is nothing more than an attempt to save face and avoid having to say that they made the decision themselves, and quite frankly, its a little insulting to my intelligence. The HLP made a decision, and instructed its attorneys to move forward accordingly.
^
Phaedrus
Posted: Aug 23 2007, 03:49 AM


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I will say that copyright law is stupid for letting them shoot something like this down. Intellectual property and protecting one's assets is nice and all, but it was totally nonprofit! It's not like they're making money of FH's ideas, they're SPENDING money to make something awesome, and distributing it for free.

(As for my respecting of intelligence meter, the score is currently: Omphalos: 3, HLP: 0. Get in the game, HLP!)
^
Hypatia
Posted: Aug 23 2007, 06:26 AM


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QUOTE (Omphalos @ Aug 23 2007, 01:39 AM)
And, I have been told that they just applied for membership here.  Id like to see if they confirm that or not.

I have approved their membership.
^
Xibalba
Posted: Aug 23 2007, 01:27 PM


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QUOTE (Phaedrus @ Aug 23 2007, 03:49 AM)
I will say that copyright law is stupid for letting them shoot something like this down.  Intellectual property and protecting one's assets is nice and all, but it was totally nonprofit!  It's not like they're making money of FH's ideas, they're SPENDING money to make something awesome, and distributing it for free.


I'm probably being really naive, but I thought that copyright law only came into effect when someone was making money off of your ideas, no? If someone's not making a profit from your ideas, what exactly is the damage that they're doing? Where do you draw the line, then? What about fan-fiction? How is that different? Should all writers of fan-fiction be sued or have to pay for the rights to publish online? Someone around here is a lawyer, right? Can someone clear this up for me?
^
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