So what do you do if you're embattled movie producer/huckster David Bergstein? With five of his companies facing bankruptcy proceedings in court, the guy seemingly has a way of finding people to keep giving him their money. His latest
mark partner is construction magnate Ron Tutor. The two have been friends for years and are even in serious talks to buy Miramax. But if that deal doesn't pan out it looks like Bergstein and co. will start off by buying back some of his old productions anonymously and on the cheap.
Among the many titles still stuck in limbo following the collapse of Capitol Films is the post-Katrina New Orleans set thriller "Black Water Transit" by Tony Kaye ("American History X") starring Laurence Fishburne, Karl Urban and Brittany Snow. In a complex deal, it appears that Bergstein and Tudor created Library Asset Acquisition Company (LAAC) to act as a lender on their behalf after paying $45 million to a hedge fund they owed money to earlier this year. Since LAAC is technically a lender, they acquired "Black Water Transit" for $2 million as a "credit" on the amount owed. LAAC then transferred ownership of the film to another Bergstein/Tutor formed company simply called Black Water Transit Acquisition Company. You still with us? Don't worry, it took us a few times to figure it all out too. The other disconcerting fact? In legal papers, the film is valued at $26 million. That's quite the savings.
As The Hollywood Reporter notes, this isn't the first time Bergstein has done this complicated dance as he has "a history of buying properties out of foreclosure, even when it has involved his own companies, for a fraction of the real value, having eliminated all legal and debt obligations through the sale process. He is then free to re-sell or market the movie without paying lenders, mortgage holders or others." Bergstein is definitely a crafty son of a bitch, we'll give him that.
The sale is already being objected to by Aramid Entertainment Fund, which helped fund the movie, and by the major industry guilds, SAG, the DGA and WGA and given how everything involved with Bergstein seems to drag out in court forever, don't expect on seeing this movie anytime soon. But if you're really curious, you can have a read over the official synopsis after the jump and imagine it in your head:
New Orleans is a city in chaos, picking up the pieces after hurricane Katrina. Black Water Transit's owner, Jack Vermillion (Laurence Fishburne) is trying to break away from the life of crime he grew up in and conduct a legitimate business. Jack is tortured by thoughts of his only son Gary, who is in prison endangering his own life with his self destructive behavior and aggressive attitude towards the other inmates.
When the mysterious Earl Pike (Karl Urban) approaches Jack to ship an enormous stash of guns, he decides to expose Earl to District Attorney Schick in exchange for Gary's protection. Jack's plan, however, is jeopardized by the fact that Sardoonah (Brittany Snow), a prostitute he has taken under his wing, is falling in love with Earl and might be shifting her loyalty.
With a team of bickering cops on their tail, the lives of Jack and Earl become inextricably linked in an explosive drama led by a highly unconventional hero. Against the backdrop of a post apocalyptic world descending into chaos, Tony Kaye (director of critically acclaimed AMERICAN HISTORY X) brings us a hard hitting, pulse pounding action drama about violence, betrayal, love, and the desire to do good when everything conspires against you.