Tony Palmer presents "Bird on a wire"

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bene449
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Re: Tony Palmer presents "Bird on a wire"

Post by bene449 » Sat Sep 04, 2010 10:13 am

Sorry, Marie and Jarrko, it is not that simple. If Kory warned Tony/Steve back in May about their actions with this film, then why was it premiered at the Leonard Cohen event in Krakov last month. How come Kory didn't ask for the film not to be shown? How come Sony didn't ask for the film not to be shown? How come Leonard didn't ask for the film not to be shown?

How come many of you guys were at the showing and giving a standing ovation at the end of the film?
As for the Leonardcohencafe, it sells anything which is in the public domain, whether i like the product or not. An example is Songs from the Road, which when i saw it reminded me of just a load of Youtube clips put together. After Live in London, did we really need another dvd of the same songs sung in a different location. A cynical person would think it was just another attempt by management to make as much money as possible whilst Leonard is still singing. As a distributor, I will still sell this dvd because my clients will still buy it for their collection.

For what it's worth, I have great admiration for Leonard. He is a genius and it is unfortunate that he is surrounded by corporate entities who are only interested in the profit margin for their company. As in the past, I believe him to be badly advised and an email has gone to him from my legal adviser advising him of this.
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Mabeanie1
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Re: Tony Palmer presents "Bird on a wire"

Post by Mabeanie1 » Sat Sep 04, 2010 11:07 am

neo wrote:I guess Sony claims to own the film because of the "BBC edit" while Tony Palmer claims to own his original cut. Sony can afford hiring a lot of lawyers... so I guess the Palmer film will be lost to the vaults for a long time. A sad story indeed.
I doubt very much if the film will be lost in the vaults. Actually, I think the opposite could happen. There are copies out in the public domain so it could simply become a well circulated bootleg item once again and all parties will be losers.

Wendy
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remote1
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Re: Tony Palmer presents "Bird on a wire"

Post by remote1 » Sat Sep 04, 2010 11:19 am

MarieM wrote:With regard to the discussion of the distribution of the Bird on a Wire film, this is what we have learned from Leonard's management.
Robert and Leonard are disappointed that their efforts to get the original film materials (which Leonard preserved for 22 years paying large storage costs) in Tony Palmer's hands have not been met with reciprocal respect of a request to cooperate with SONY, and instead have created a problem.
Well, as a fan, I now feel guilty for ordering the signed copy! And yet I can't help but wonder why the film was shown in Krakow... It's all quite confusing!
"We are so lightly here"
bene449
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Re: Tony Palmer presents "Bird on a wire"

Post by bene449 » Sat Sep 04, 2010 11:35 am

yes, but you can't believe all that you read. If "Leonard is really disappointed", then please send me a request from Leonard to stop selling these dvds, and, being a fan, i would stop immediately. For goodness sake, it was premiered at the Leonard Cohen Event and they sold hundreds of copies there.
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Davido
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Re: Tony Palmer presents "Bird on a wire"

Post by Davido » Sat Sep 04, 2010 12:28 pm

The film was also premiered in the UK in August at the Green Man Festival, Wales.
"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies"~ Groucho Marx
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Davido
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Re: Tony Palmer presents "Bird on a wire"

Post by Davido » Sat Sep 04, 2010 1:09 pm

MarieM wrote:With regard to the discussion of the distribution of the Bird on a Wire film, this is what we have learned from Leonard's management.
SONY believes Tony Palmer and Steve Machat do not have the rights to distribute the film and SONY is enforcing its rights with distributors worldwide. Amazon in the US already acknowledges SONY's rights. SONY is proceeding to enforce its rights worldwide and distributors worldwide are cooperating with SONY, but this is creating an unfortunate amount of work and antagonism.

Vince's actions in distributing the Bird on a Wire film, as well as Tony Palmer's and Steve Machat's actions, harm Leonard and his relationship with SONY which Robert Kory and his team have spent three years rebuilding and which, as a result, gave us Live in London, Isle of Wight, and now Songs from the Road.

Robert Kory has been trying to work with SONY so this product can also be released, but unilateral action by Tony, Steve and Vince, is not the way to do it. Vince risks undoing all the good work accomplished with SONY to date by making the pronouncements he is making. Robert Kory warned Steven Machat and Tony Palmer that SONY would object to their unilateral effort to release the film when he learned of that effort at the end of May. Now the fans suffer because a product that could have been released seems likely to get tied up in litigation. Robert and Leonard are disappointed that their efforts to get the original film materials (which Leonard preserved for 22 years paying large storage costs) in Tony Palmer's hands have not been met with reciprocal respect of a request to cooperate with SONY, and instead have created a problem.

We hope this answers some of your questions.

Jarkko and Marie
Tony Palmer's reply:
"Robert and Leonard are disappointed that their efforts to get the original film materials (which Leonard preserved for 22 years paying large storage costs) in Tony Palmer's hands......"
This is just a complete lie. They never made any effort whatsoever, although they knew I was trying to find the film.
And they never made the slightest effort to help in restoring the film even after they knew I had the material.
They never supplied any negative, even if it exists; or any prints; or any soundtracks. Nor did SONY.
AMAZON US has not "acknowledged SONY's rights". They were forced into withdrawing it from sale by SONY while SONY, meanwhile, behind their backs, were trying to buy
out the film from us. That is blackmail, and will soon be the subject of serious litigation for damages.
After the best possible legal advice, our lawyers have now written to SONY effectively denying that they have any rights in the film at all.
Vince is his own man, and I'm sure is not going to be bullied by anyone.
And the biggest lie of all is at the end: "a product that could have been released seems likely to get tied up in litigation."
Well, why didn't they - SONY, Kory or Leonard - do so all these years?
Because they couldn't. They didn't have the film, only the bits and pieces they sent me.
And they have not made the slightest acknowledgement that without me the film wouldn't now exist.
The worldwide rave reviews for the film should be a source of shame for SONY and Kory that for all these years they did nothing to rescue the film.
"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies"~ Groucho Marx
IMM
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Re: Tony Palmer presents "Bird on a wire"

Post by IMM » Sat Sep 04, 2010 2:31 pm

This type of action from Sony is reminiscent of their disrespect of the customer - evidenced by the 'rootkit' they were bundling a while back in their products. It would seem advisable for artists which are currently with Sony to find another label as soon as their contracts permit, which is better for both them and the art.
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neo
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Re: Tony Palmer presents "Bird on a wire"

Post by neo » Sat Sep 04, 2010 3:33 pm

Mabeanie1 wrote:I doubt very much if the film will be lost in the vaults. Actually, I think the opposite could happen. There are copies out in the public domain so it could simply become a well circulated bootleg item once again and all parties will be losers.

Wendy
Of course you're right, Wendy. But I was talking about a legal release, which looks difficult at the moment, to say the least.

remote1 wrote:Well, as a fan, I now feel guilty for ordering the signed copy! And yet I can't help but wonder why the film was shown in Krakow... It's all quite confusing!
I don't feel guilty for ordering a copy. Whatever the reasons for Sony's behavior are, I don't think that Tony Palmer had ill intensions with releasing his film and he wouldn't have made public previews if he knew there was trouble from Sony ahead...
We don't know the deals behind it, but I'm sure Leonard Cohen (or is it Sony who owns all the copyrights?) will get compensated for the mechanical rights, song copyright etc. Of course that will be less profit as if Sony would have marketed the product itself. But as it seems that they didn't care much for the film anyway and didn't make any effort to restore the original film, I think it is Palmer's right to release it.
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lightning
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Re: Tony Palmer presents "Bird on a wire"

Post by lightning » Sat Sep 04, 2010 4:25 pm

There was a tiny yellow breasted bird trapped between the upper and lower windows of my bedroom this morning desperately fluttering its wings trying to fly but it couldn't move. After some struggle and fear that the young bird would die if I didn't do something, I opened up a boarded up pane of the six part window and little bird was able to fly off. Turning on the radio to WFMU, Jeff Davidson's folk show "The Shrunken Planet" I hear Jeff Buckley singing, " Hallelujah....Hallelujah."
Is this some kind of sign?
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lizzytysh
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Re: Tony Palmer presents "Bird on a wire"

Post by lizzytysh » Sat Sep 04, 2010 4:47 pm

Without verbally going too much 'against' SONY, with whom Leonard and his people have been trying to re-establish a good relationship for three years, it has always seemed to me that SONY has been opportunistic and now, perhaps[?], the success of Tony's film has caused them to legally position themselves in such a way as to benefit financially in the greatest way they can figure to do it. What else could it be on their part?

It hurts to read that Leonard is disappointed in anything. The footage was initially filmed with goodwill all around [Leonard, Tony, the crew, the audience]. What we have is the result of that original goodwill, thanks to Tony and Steve. We are all people who grow and change in many ways. Seeing Leonard in such depth in his younger years [I say 'youth] is absolute privilege... a chance of a lifetime and the film of a lifetime. When Leonard allowed his own vulnerabilities to be filmed, the result is akin to his songs in the way of any person suffering the angst that comes with life... and finding encouragement there. Such an unspoken testimony to survival and thriving. And his same enigmatic self when he speaks of success is touching and underscores commitment and continuation of one's work, no matter what. Poetry and songs now appreciated the world over, regardless of the number of years it has taken. It remains success.

These are the kinds of things WE care about, though; corporate SONY couldn't possibly care less. What Vince has said about why was it allowed to be in various places, etc. does, indeed, cause confusion and cast doubt. How awful for this whole thing to descend into such darkness when it is a film to be celebrated and appreciated for the insights and pleasure it provides.

SONY has Leonard's copyrights to many of his songs. May they not end up with Tony's, too. May all parties end up coming to the table in agreement without doing ill to the artists.


As to Songs from the Road. It may have seemed like recycling, but the choices of what to include were the BEST performances found for each song. From things I've read, it's my understanding that Leonard was not totally at ease with the stage and performing at the beginning and, with time, became more spontaneous with it all. I'll be glad to have a recording that those who can assess best one against the rest have determined to be the prime performances. It was beautiful to me. I felt only a stab of sadness in the slow-motion final shot, when it hearkened to a champion laying down the gauntlet, which for me in those moments gave it the feel of having been a memorial film. That thought only occurred to me when it came to a close that way.

I've just now read your incredible anecdote, lightning. I sure hope it's a sign. The bird itself, the trapped bird which caused me to think of artists with big corporations [much less those in this current and past situations with SONY], the timing of those things this morning with the song, it's hard to ignore, when you believe in signs, which I do... may this one be prophetic.


~ Lizzy
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
~ Oscar Wilde
bene449
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Re: Tony Palmer presents "Bird on a wire"

Post by bene449 » Sat Sep 04, 2010 5:04 pm

Lizzy, it was a pleasure to meet you in Krakov. I never realised that you could write so beautifully. I hope we meet again soon.
Vince
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lizzytysh
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Re: Tony Palmer presents "Bird on a wire"

Post by lizzytysh » Sat Sep 04, 2010 5:21 pm

Thank you, Vince... and, yes, it was a pleasure to meet you, too, and I hope to meet you again somewhere soon.

One of the many things that comes through in Tony's film is Leonard's deep commitment to peaceful resolution and how profoundly he was affected when the security staff made it otherwise. What I loved so much about this film is how Tony created the emotional building of it. It begins with that dramatic footage of the Eiffel Tower and you KNOW that you are about to see something of great import and significance... and then it continues with COHESION [and look at the similarity I've just noticed with that word and Leonard's name] to the end vs. what we've been watching for years, which seemed to have the intent of being 'cutting edge' and 'avant-garde' as it slices and dices from one thing to the next and the result is plain-and-simple frenetic. This film was made with maturity and, despite the discomfort that comes with viewing the war scenes, it IS what those of us who were grown enough to be aware of it all, actually SAW on our TV's, along the endless body bags... and is what REALLY happens in war. Hence, the massive war protests. Now, it's all sanitized, except there's nothing they can do with the COUNTS of innocent people who are killed daily with suicide bombers and hidden, homemade bombs along the road. Anyone who listens to those reports and thinks of the number of people's real lives that those numbers represent is still impacted; but the footage of the carnage speaks to the reality which cannot be parsed or denied. Having the footage play over the Story of Isaac underscores the real depth of Leonard's song. Even if this nightmare madness with SONY weren't occurring, this film would be a collector's item. Tony so well deserved the long standing ovation he got at the close of the viewing. It was painstaking and dedicated work that was responsible for this film finally being released with its original intent.


~ Lizzy
Last edited by lizzytysh on Sat Sep 04, 2010 5:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
~ Oscar Wilde
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Davido
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Re: Tony Palmer presents "Bird on a wire"

Post by Davido » Sat Sep 04, 2010 5:22 pm

Signs?...Prophetic?...
The DVD of Bird On A Wire opens with Leonard reading his poem 'ANY SYSTEM' from'The Energy of Slaves' :

Any system you contrive without us
will be brought down
We warned you before
and nothing that you built has stood
Hear it as you lean over your blueprint
Hear it as you roll up your sleeve
Hear it once again
Any system you contrive without us
will be brought down

You have your drugs
You have your guns
You have your Pyramids your Pentagons
With all your grass and bullets
you cannot hunt us any more
All that we disclose of ourselves forever
is this warning
Nothing that you built has stood
Any system you contrive without us
will be brought down.
"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies"~ Groucho Marx
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lizzytysh
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Re: Tony Palmer presents "Bird on a wire"

Post by lizzytysh » Sat Sep 04, 2010 5:40 pm

Thanks for making the point using Leonard's own words, David.


~ Lizzy
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
~ Oscar Wilde
bene449
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Re: Tony Palmer presents "Bird on a wire"

Post by bene449 » Sat Sep 04, 2010 6:31 pm

David,
pure genius.
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