Judge gives 30 days to transfer rights to films

A Colorado judge has given Swedish Film giant Svensk Filmindustri 30 days to transfer the rights to its extensive film catalog — which includes virtually all of the late director Ingmar Bergman’s films — to the Isis Theater in Aspen to satisfy an $8.9 million judgment.

Svensk has until Aug. 22 to comply with the order.

The titles affected by the order include “Cries and Whispers,” “Fanny and Alexander,” “Hour of the Wolf,” “The Seventh Seal” and “Wild Strawberries,” as well as such classics as Lasse Hallstrom’s “My Life as a Dog” and Ake Ohberg’s “Elvira Madigan.”

The order extends to proceeds from contracts Svensk has for distribution of its films in the U.S., as well as films for which it acts as the distributor in Scandinavia and elsewhere in Europe.

The transfer order is another litigation win for Isis in its lengthy battle with Svensk.

The U.S., however, does not have a treaty with Sweden to enforce judgments, and so far, it has come up empty-handed because there are no U.S. assets to seize.

The long-running dispute began when Isis developed an historic building in Aspen into a state-of-the-art five-plex. Svensk guaranteed the lease but refused to pay when partner Resort Theaters of America went bankrupt.

In 2002, the Colorado state court found in favor of Isis, and the judgment was upheld on appeal. With costs and interest, the judgment is now $8.9 million.

Isis has avidly pursued the judgment. Earlier this year, a Colorado judge found Svensk in contempt and ordered fines of $2,500 a day for refusing to disclose its assets to Isis. Last year, Isis set up a website offering a bounty for information that will force Svensk to satisfy the judgment.

Svensk, founded in 1919, is the leading distributor of film and video in Scandinavia. It claims a catalog of more than 1,200 titles. Svensk’s parent company is Bonnier Group, a European media conglom with publishing interests in the U.S.

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