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Film Festival Today

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Sundance Opening Film Draws Messy Law Suit

Written by: FFT Webmaster | January 16th, 2012

This year’s Sundance Film Festival, which begins on Thursday, is already courting controversy with the announcement that a defamation lawsuit has been filed over one of the opening films of the Festival. David Siegel, a real estate developer, has filed the lawsuit in relation to THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES, an Evergreen Pictures documentary that is based on him, his wife Jackie and the construction of their massive mansion in Florida. The movie is being touted as a “rags-to-riches-to-rags story,” which Siegel disputes. He says his reputation has been damaged by the promo materials’ claim that his timeshare empire had collapsed. Siegel is suing the Sundance Institute, which runs the festival, the film’s director Lauren Greenfield, and her husband, executive producer Frank Evers. Siegel is the CEO and president of Westgate LTD, a privately held timeshare and development company that owns and operates 27 resorts nationwide. One of them is a ski resort in Park City, Utah, which is home to Sundance. The Sundance Film Festival did make changes to its online description of the film, which stressed the couple’s foreclosures and economic collapse, and encouraged media outlets to do the same. The resulting legal brouhaha has just generated wide interest in the film as emblematic of the economic crisis and the gulf between the entitled 1% percent and the rest of us wage slaves. For more information on the film, visit: http://filmguide.sundance.org/film/120034/the_queen_of_versailles

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