In 1977, filmmaker Charles Burnett
submitted Killer of Sheep
as his Master's thesis at UCLA Film School. It's set in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Watts and filmed in an Italian neorealist
style. After a well-received festival run, it languished for 30 years without a theatrical release or distribution because of music rights issues. It wasn't until 2007 that the rights were secured, and the film went on to have a theatrical release. Burnett isn't the only filmmaker who has run afoul of music rights. Abel Ferrara's 1992 film Bad Lieutenant
used the song "Signifying Rapper" by Schoolly D
, including in a key scene where a nun is sexually assaulted. Schoolly D's record company had not cleared the sample of Led Zeppelin's Kashmir
used on "Signifying Rapper." Zep's people sued, and the upshot was that Ferrara had to destroy all unsold copies of the film and change out the track.
This climate has had a chilling effect on independent filmmakers hoping for a theatrical release. Many major label tracks are made available with a "festival license" option, meaning you can pay to use it on a version submitted to festivals, but if you plan distribution beyond that, you have to pony up big bucks. Luckily, this has led to many more independent filmmakers seeking out tracks from unsigned musicians for much more reasonable terms. At any rate, you should check out Killer of Sheep if you haven't. The songs really do make several of the scenes work, and you'll appreciate that Burnett stuck to his artistic vision, even if it took 30 years for most of us to be able to see and hear it.
Killer of Sheep website
Killer of Sheep: The Charles Burnett Collection (via Amazon)
This week, the scholarly publishing giant Elsevier filed suit against Sci-Hub and Library Genesis, two sites where academics and researchers practiced civil disobedience by sharing the academic papers that Elsevier claims — despite having acquired the papers for free from researchers, and despite having had them refereed and overseen by editorial boards staffed by more […]
Sarah Jeong had me standing up and cheering with her comparison of kudurrus — the ancient Mesopotamian boundary stones used to mark out territorial land-grants — and the way that laws like the US DMCA protect digital rights management systems.
Mélanie Joly is the newly appointed Canadian Heritage Minister, and she’s been given a briefing book by her ministerial staffers laying out the ministry’s view of what’s going on in the Heritage brief. The book’s copyright section is a disaster.
The Micro Drone 2.0+ is truly in a league of its own, offering a new perspective on aerial photography, and a world of technological capabilities that make flying ridiculously fun. Simply throw it in the air at any angle and its self-correcting algorithm will stabilize for smooth sailing in no time. You’ll stay entertained with […]
Celebrate Cyber Monday with some brain food. Save on any eLearning deal in the Boing Boing Store today using coupon code: CYBERMONDAY25. Below are a couple of our favorite eLearning offers: eduCBA Tech Training Bundle: Lifetime Subscription:Welcome to your personal online classroom, where you can finally study at your own pace, on your own time (and […]
This minimalist multi-tool will see to it that instead of rocking a tool belt, you’ll carry just one. It’s shaped slightly like a key and weighs less than an ounce, so it plays nice with your keychain. The strong surgical-grade stainless steel blade will last, and is handy for everyday tasks like opening boxes and […]