You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Frank Oz Accuses Sundance Event of ‘Ripping Off’ His Stage Show

Frank Oz leveled charges at a Sundance Film Festival event called “Hero,” saying it duplicated an important element of the Off Broadway show he directed, “In & Of Itself.”

Director and “Muppets” voice actor Oz began posting comments on Twitter Saturday, noting that Sundance’s multi-sensory virtual reality event was “ripping off” an element of “In & Of Itself,” a one-man show starring performance artist and illusionist Derek DelGaudio, which has been running in New York since April 2017.

Audience members entering the theater for “In & Of Itself” are asked to choose a perforated card from a wall. Each card reads “I AM” above the perforation; the lower half of each card is unique and includes any number of descriptive identifiers, from “publisher” to “bad mamajama” to “witness.”

Those cards are at the center of the dispute; based on images posted on DelGaudio’s Twitter feed Sunday, “Hero” featured a similar wall of cards, divided into “I AM” and a collection of personal identifications like “mentor,” “father,” “son.”

As DelGaudio noted in his tweet, “It’s simple. Shitty, but simple…. People saw my show, appropriated the relational aesthetics, and set up shop at @Sundancefest.”

“Hero” is a virtual reality collaboration created by creative agency Inhance Digital and collaborator Ink Stories, exploring “human resilience in time of crisis,” according to a press release. The experience ran Jan. 18-28 at the Kimball Art Center.

On Monday, Ink Stories co-founder Navid Khonsari posted a letter on Twitter addressed to DelGaudio and Oz, apologizing for the “unfortunate misunderstanding” while also justifying the use of “I AM” cards by saying they draw “inspiration from more than sixty years of social impact work.”

He added that he would be “modifying our use of ‘I AM’ for our future iterations.”

Other celebrities posted messages of support on Twitter for DelGaudio’s show, including Patton Oswalt, Adam Savage, and “Wait! Wait! Don’t Tell Me” host Peter Sagal. “Itself” producer Neil Patrick Harris retweeted Sagal’s comment, but has not issued a statement of his own.

“This all came as a big surprise when people on Twitter pointed out what was going on,” DelGaudio told Variety in a statement. “As of now, we are working to resolve it and look forward to putting the mess behind us.”

Oz declined to comment; Harris and Khonsari did not respond to requests for comment at press time.

More Film

  • ralph Fiennes WHITE CROW Directing BTS

    Ralph Fiennes Examines Rudolf Nureyev's Complicated Life in 'The White Crow'

    The story of “The White Crow,” Ralph Fiennes’ latest directorial effort, is as topical as anything currently sitting on the desk of a studio head. It tells of a rebellious artist grappling with his sexuality during turbulent political times rife with tensions between the United States and an agitated Russia.  But though the upcoming film, [...]

  • MoviePass card

    MoviePass Has Lost Over 90% of Its Subscribers in Less Than a Year (Report)

    MoviePass users apparently hit the exits en masse after it scaled back the number of movies users could see each month: The flailing cinema-subscription provider has seen its subscriber rolls plunge from a peak of more than 3 million to just 225,000 in under a year, according to a new report. The numbers were reported [...]

  • Sundance Film 'Midnight Family' Sells Domestic

    Sundance Award Winner 'Midnight Family' Sells Domestic Rights to 1091 (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Midnight Family,” an award winning documentary about the struggles of a family in Mexico City, has sold its North American distribution rights to 1091. The indie studio was previously known as the Orchard, but received a new moniker after it was sold by Sony Music Entertainment to a new investment group in January. 1091 plans [...]

  • Villains - Maika Monroe Bill Skarsgard

    SXSW Comedy Thriller 'Villains' Acquired by Gunpowder & Sky, MoviePass for U.S. Release

    Dark comedy thriller “Villains,” which premiered last month at the SXSW Film Festival, has been acquired for U.S. release by Gunpowder & Sky in association with MoviePass’ film division. G&S and MoviePass Films plans to give “Villains” a theatrical release this summer, after buying the rights from The Realm, Bron Studios genre arm. The film [...]

  • General Delegate of the Cannes Film

    Cannes Reinstates Advance Press Screenings, But Favors TV, Radio Journalists (EXCLUSIVE)

    Following last year’s backlash by film critics over changes to its screenings schedule, the Cannes Film Festival has decided to reinstate morning press screenings for movies having their gala world premieres in the evening. But there’s a catch: Only a few hundred journalists — mainly from TV and radio outlets — will be admitted, and [...]

  • Someone Great

    Film Review: ‘Someone Great’

    There simply aren’t enough modern romantic comedies that cherish the merits of female friendship in the aftermath of a romantic breakup. There are even fewer that feel like a personal, lived-in experience. Female-driven raunchcoms (like “Girls Trip”) have explored this territory to a certain extent, though many stop short of delivering genuine poignancy (like “Rough [...]

  • Actresses take part in the #metoo

    Cannes Grows More Inclusive, Boosts Number of Female Filmmakers

    In 1946, the inaugural year of the Cannes Film Festival, Barbara Virginia’s surrealist film, “Tres dias sem Deus” debuted in competition. Over the subsequent seven decades, as it has grown in stature to become one of the world’s premier film gatherings, Cannes hasn’t matched that early promise in highlighting female artists. Finally, the powers that [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content