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)
D10D3 built this “cyberdeck” on a C64c (a modern recreation of the Commmodore 64) with a Raspberry Pi CPU, VGA port, and all the I/O you could ask for (USB/Bluetooth/wifi/Ethernet).
Robert Croucher owns Hatton & Berkeley, a firm that sent “speculative invoices” to people it accused of illegally downloading the Robert Redford movie “The Company You Keep” — letters so egregious that Lord Lucas described the company as “scammers” and the letters as “extortion,” urging Britons to “put them in the bin.”
The World Wide Web Consortium has embarked upon an ill-advised project to standardize Digital Rights Management (DRM) for video at the behest of companies like Netflix; in so doing, they are, for the first time, making a standard whose implementations will be covered under anti-circumvention laws like Section 1201 of the DMCA, which makes it […]
If you own a dog, you’ve most likely heard of BarkBox – the monthly subscription box for dogs. What started as a simple idea to try out the subscription model on pet owners has since developed a cult following of dog lovers. If you haven’t given it a try yet, this one month free deal is the […]
With the iPhone headphone jack having gone by the wayside, we’re excited about the addition of the FRANKLIN Bluetooth Headphones in our store. These headphones are foldable so they’re easy to carry around, but most importantly, they pack impressive sound. Our biggest struggle with Bluetooth headphones is the worry of them dying at the worst moment. This pair lasts an impressive 8-10 […]
Evan Kimbrell, founder of the digital agency Sprintkick, recently released a series of online courses that feature some of the best advice we’ve come across. These courses are well worth your time, and will save you from making many typical mistakes down the line if you ever want to start your own business.With this Business […]