Summit Entertainment has petitioned the Los Angeles Superior Court to hold Bjorg Veland and sales company BV Intl. Pictures responsible for a 2002 AFMA judgment in regards to “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.”
Veland and BVIP were served with the motion Thursday at BVIP’s offices at the American Film Market in Santa Monica.
The underlying dispute arose after Veland’s now-defunct Scandinavian distribution shingle, BV Film Intl., failed to pay Summit more than $500,000 in overages resulting from the release of Guy Ritchie’s 1998 comedy.
In 2002, Summit took its case against BVFI into arbitration with the American Film Marketing Assn. It resulted in a judgment against BVFI that, with attorneys’ fees and interest, reached into the high six figures.
After the judgment, BVFI changed its name to Media West and filed for bankruptcy, a decision that, according to Veland, stemmed from the Summit case.
According to the AFMA Web site, Media West was banned from the 2004 AFM for nonpayment of an arbitration award. However, that decision did not affect BVIP’s status as an exhibitor.
Veland told Variety that she bought “Lock, Stock” in a package of three titles from Handmade Pictures. When that company folded, Summit took over the Ritchie title and, according to Veland, changed the royalty terms.
Veland came to this year’s AFM with sales company BVIP, which she says was launched seven years ago. She said she met briefly with Summit on Wednesday to arrange a time to discuss a solution, but was served the next day.
According to Jon Pfeiffer, Summit’s trial counsel from the firm of Pfeiffer & Thigpen, “The bankruptcy proceedings have already revealed a number of highly irregular transactions involving Ms. Veland and other companies controlled by her.”
Summit is asking the court to rule that Veland be held personally accountable for the debt.
“I’m sorry that it’s become public and I’m looking for a solution that’s fair to both parties,” Veland said.