Vicki Bennett's first feature length The Zone, which involves a split screen edit of The Wizard Of Oz and Tarkovsky's Stalker, will not be screened again following a legal claim from Mosfilm (owners of Stalker). Distribution has now ceased on the film and it has been withdrawn from circulation.
The Zone had its debut screening at Bristol's Arnolfini in November (reviewed in The Wire 348), and was supposed to be screened last week at Berlin's Transmediale festival. Instead of the film, Transmediale screened a statement in protest at the film being removed from distribution. It read: "The installation of The Zone in this auditorium, a hall built in the 1950s at the Inner German border to represent the communication possible between worlds, would have created an imaginary museum. But unfortunately the legal department of one of the copyright holders, Mosfilm, insisted on stopping the distribution of the The Zone, which is why it has been withdrawn from circulation. Therefore we are not able to show the work right now. We can just invite you to imagine an imaginary film museum."
Bennett says: "This is the first legal claim made against my appropriation work in 22 years. I pay homage to content and my motivation is to make conceptual connections between context and content using folk art, and the majority of critics have found the result highly positive and often humorous in intention, as a result my work has been funded and supported by bodies such as the BBC, BFI and Arts Council England. I have received nothing but support, and heard nothing but outrage from those who have heard of this incident. The concept of this film remains strong, although it has transformed into something else rather quicker than I expected!"
Read Bennett's statement, plus a statement posted in the cinema at Transmediale last week, at peoplelikeus.org.