AFMA bans 2 Asian distribs

The American Film Marketing Assn. has banned two Asiandistribs from next month’s American Film Market unless they pay more than $ 300,000 owed to sales company J&M Entertainment.

The ruling is the result of an AFMA arbitration sought by J&M to enforce a South Korean distribution contract with Dong-A Export Co. and Ken Nakamura’s Dai-Ichi Entertainment.

The AFMA ruling has been endorsed by the Los Angeles Superior Court.

Per J&M, Dong-A and Dai-Ichi backed out of an agreement to distribute “The Mistress” in South Korea, citing alleged breaches of contract. J&M denied the allegations and demanded the payment of the agreed guarantee on delivery of the picture, which, per J&M insiders, Dong-A and Dai-Ichi evidently no longer wanted.

“They didn’t give themselves a chance to distribute it and they didn’t come back to us to say that they had a problem with it,” said J&M’s Tony Miller.

“These things are usually resolved between the parties at an early stage, but this one went all the way to court, which is not what we wanted,” Miller said.

J&M took the case to AFMA arbitrator Howard Frumes, who ruled that neither Dai-Ichi nor Dong-A had a valid excuse for breaching the license agreement. Frumes made an award against them for the full value of the contract, totaling $ 308,721, plus interest. So far, no payment has been forthcoming.

If Dong-A and Dai-Ichi don’t pay, J&M will have to find an alternative distrib in South Korea.

The London-based firm has seven similar cases in the pipeline.

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