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A myriad of frustration

Filmmakers plead case vs. shingle at AFM

Here’s a tip for disgruntled filmmakers: An hour at Kinko’s is cheaper than an hour in a lawyer’s office.

When the American Film Market opened Wednesday, “A Foreign Affair” director Helmut Schleppi and writer Geert Heetebrij spent their afternoon standing in front of the Loews Santa Monica Hotel, handing out bright yellow fliers that asked, “Thinking of doing business with Myriad Pictures? Think again.”

Myriad made the better of two offers that the filmmakers received when “A Foreign Affair” premiered at last year’s Sundance Film Festival. The deal called for a $250,000 advance against international sales on the film, which stars David Arquette and Tim Blake Nelson.

But according to a letter Myriad received on Nov. 3 from the filmmakers’ attorney, Thomas Hunter at Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal & LaViolette, Myriad still owes $135,000 and has offered to settle for $20,000, or a little less than 15¢ on the dollar.

“We would prefer to have the lawyers resolve this,” says a Myriad rep. “Our counsel is in touch with their counsel.”

Schleppi says he’d like to sue but can’t afford it. And while there’s no telling if his mini-demonstration will be effective, the helmer’s pleased so far. “It was quite fun,” he says. “Everyone sympathized but they were, like, ‘What can you do?’ ”

Schleppi, of course, hopes he can get paid.

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