You might have heard in this week’s news that Regent Entertainment group is being sued for $90 million because the owners allegedly pocketed bank loans instead of investing and repaying filmmakers. There are approximately 100 films in the Regency and Here Media catalogs that are about to be caught up in a nasty court battle; some of these films were never distributed and the filmmakers signed contracts binding the movies for 18 to 30 years.
Here Media owns Gay.com, The Advocate and Out magazines, and the cable channel HereTV.
I had a meeting with them a year ago October in their Westwood, California penthouse offices. As I sat in the conference room with a view of the Pacific five miles off, I wondered just how much money they had to be spending on this building, and how little money they were sharing with filmmakers.
Before going into the meeting several LA filmmakers told me Here Media talked big, then signed contracts that made it virtually impossible for the writer/director to make his money back. I sipped my water, nodded and smiled, laughed and bantered for an hour. When the fella who requested the meeting with me told me the kind of content they were looking for (crap, pure meaningless drivel) I was stunned their business model continued to deliver stuff that no one I know in the gay community still wants to see.
I feel deeply for the filmmakers I know who have films tied to Here and Regent. Their best hope for financial salvation is a bankruptcy filing that will restore their film rights so they can talk to other distributors.
It will be interesting to see the repercussions from this mess. One thing for certain, there are far fewer distribution outlets for gay content today than 10 years ago. Who’d have thought?
At a time when more men are living openly honest lives and interested in stories they can relate to, their choices are fewer and farther between.
For supporters and fans of my movies, all I can say is we are extremely fortunate to be distributed by an honest company, in sound financial condition. I also hold the rights to all my films which immediately revert back to Silly Bunny Pictures in the event our distributors falter.
It’s time for other filmmakers to be equally proactive and protect their work as well.
For the news story: