Writer-Director Vera Drew isn't going to let an angry letter stop her from showing her film to the world.
If you haven't heard the news, Vera Drew's The People's Joker was pulled from future TIFF screenings after Warner Bros. served a cease-and-desist order against the film. This means that the film will probably struggle to see the light of day ever again despite the content and story being a unique work that parodies well-known DC characters.
On Wednesday night, Drew released a statement on what happened between TIFF, the legal status of The People's Joker, and where the filmmaker will go from here. In the letter, Drew notes that the production was not hit by a cease-and-desist from "a media conglomerate that shall remain nameless," but was instead sent an "angry letter" that pressured her to not screen the film.
🚨🃏A STATEMENT FROM VERA ON WHAT WENT DOWN AT TIFF, THE LEGAL STATUS OF THE PEOPLES JOKER, AND WHERE WE GO FROM HERE🃏🚨 pic.twitter.com/TJCneaEUDW— Vera Drew is the Joker™️ (@VeraDrew22) September 16, 2022
"Any other film festival would have pulled us immediately, but after being fully transparent with TIFF, we agreed to premiere as planned while scaling back out later screenings to mitigate potential blowback," Drew wrote in her notes app. "It was disappointing (especially since I went to great lengths with legal counsel to have it fall under parody/fair use) but I made this choice to protect our film's future and to protect our new friends at TIFF who have been some of [The People's Joker's] biggest advocates."
Drew ends the note by saying that the film will screen again at several other festivals worldwide despite this, with the hopes that the film will find a distributor who believes in the project and will protect them and their rights as creatives.
Although the film is not scheduled for any screenings at Fantastic Fest next week, Drew is remaining optimistic about the future of the film and is working to get The People's Joker out for the world to see.
Drew concluded her message with a rallying cry to fans of the film, which she described as a “queer coming-of-age story about being trans and working in comedy,” with: “FREE THE PEOPLE’S JOKER.”
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