Okay, so, this is super disappointing and confusing on multiple levels but we've got the latest on the almost 30-year epic of Terry Gilliam's quest to finish and release The Man Who Killed Don Quixote.
Reports (Io9, Screen Rant) are surfacing that Gilliam has "lost the rights" to his film, which is not correct. To dive right in, Gilliam didn't have "the rights" to begin with, or so a Paris court of appeals has decided most recently. This was the fourth time previous producer on the film Paulo Branco has sought legal action against the production, and the third victory.
According to Screen Daily (which is the cited source for most of the other reports running around right now), the most recent legal decision had an appeals court judge ruled a contract drawn up and signed by Branco and Gilliam in 2016 – confirming the Portuguese producer's rights to Gilliam's long-gestated film remained intact. This would in turn mean that at least on the legal side of things, Gilliam did NOT hold the legal rights to the film.
It was reported two days ago that Gilliam had been ordered by the court to pay upwards of €10,000 ($11,600) to Alfama Films in expenses incurred in appeal, ruled the Court of Appeal of Paris, according to the judgment.
"Now we are going to ask for all the damages and we want to defend the interests of my company, which has already suffered too much in this process," Branco told AFP.
Branco's lawyer son Juan Branco has tweeted several times about the situation as well:
There is no mention in The Hollywood Reporter's write-up of any official awarding of the rights, however. (They do mention that Branco had been claiming rights, but not the official ruling).
Paris Match has one of the better write-ups of what actually transpired in the most recent Parisian court case, and you can read that here. There are a lot of lawyers arguing about the state of the contract between Gilliam and Branco.
Branco said to Screen Daily in a statement:
"The ruling means that the rights to the film belong to Alfama. Any exploitation of the film up until now has been completely illegal and without the authorisation of Alfama. We will be seeking damages with interest from all the people involved in this illegal production and above all, all those who were complicit in its illegal exploitation. We're holding everyone responsible."
Branco's statement alludes to the possibility of yet another court case, one wherein he'll attempt to sue the powers that be at Cannes who decided to screen the film — the first and possibly the last time anyone will see The Man Who Killed Don Quixote.