Professor Carney has finally broken his silence with a logorrheic flood, re-working his diatribe against Boston University, but now laced with a defense of his possession of the materials he has of Mark Rappaport’s and assertions that he has emails (unpublished) which prove, at least in his mind, that he is proper owner, by “gifting,” of those materials. Mark has said no such emails exist.
Speaking for myself, whose status in Mr Carney’s estimation has slipped from “mench” (sic), when I colluded with him to publish his first broadside at BU, to “con man” when I wrote him to ask him to return Rappaport’s materials, and took up the matter on the net when he was utterly unresponsive.
I suggest readers see http://cinemaelectronica.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/chained-relations-7/ which contains the emails Carney wrote to me, prior to my posting of his original anti-BU screed, and compare that with what he writes now.
To correct a few direct, in plain English, lies, which Mr Carney makes here with respect to me:
" Rappaport enlisted a filmmaker friend of his named Jon Jost"
Mr Rappaport did not enlist me, nor was I previously Rappaport’s friend – I had met Mark a handful of times in the last 35 years, at festivals and seen a few of his films. We were at best very casual acquaintances who had no correspondence and our relationship consisted of a handful of words in festival circumstances over decades (I think I can safely say I spoke more with Carney in that period, though I would not call Carney a “friend” either). I was not enlisted, but rather received Mark’s internet letter, and knowing the world figured – I think accurately – that if someone, in this instance myself, did not take this on it would disappear in a few weeks in the chatter of the world. So I took it on of my own initiative.
“page after page documenting Jost’s refusal to allow me to post a reply on his web site;”
Mr Carney seems only to know volume – page after page; in this instance what he writes is simply false. I did not refuse him use of my blog to respond, in fact I asked him to do so. All my correspondence with Carney following his publishing of his anti-BU item on my blog is sitting there on that blog. It hardly constitutes a page, much less “page after page.” But as we see in his writing, Carney is given to over-blown rhetoric and hyperbole, in “page after page.” He was welcome to post a reply, and chose not to.
Mr Carney’s other comments about my use of the internet are similarly amiss, though it is curious if he felt this how he in turn was happy to use me for his own purposes. Rather disingenuous.
As I have written before, I sincerely think that Mr Carney is mentally ill, appears to be a pathological liar and probably sincerely believes everything he says. He is in serious need of psychological treatment of some kind, but doubtless he is sure he is a paragon of wisdom, that he is right and the world is wrong.
Ironically I more or less agree with his general critique of our educational system in America, but this in no way mystically justifies Professor Carney’s falsehoods, or his treatment of Mark Rappaport.
Mr Carney: return Rappaport’s materials, and do yourself a favor and seek some help.
If I got a Kickstarter campaign going and raised $27,000 could Mark get his films back and could I finally get decent DVD copies of his work, let alone the chance to see “Mozart in Love”? Because, I’d be willing to do it.
I read (!) Carney’s long, rambling tirade against all and sundry re the Mark Rappaport film affair. It makes comic, but also, very sad reading. As has already been mentioned, Carney seems like the type of person who sees enemies everywhere. Boston University administrators, Jon Jost, Mark Rappaport, unspecified journalists, internet petitioners – all have it in for him.
In his self-serving litany of personal attacks against him, he would have us believe that he alone is fighting for truth and justice against a sea of liars and bullies. He seriously libels everyone he accuses with a litany of abuses and personal tirades. He sees himself as the target of a vendetta where only he is taking the moral highground, in the name of intellectual and academic freedom. Well, I urge anyone interested to read Carney’s own special pleadings and then the response from two men to whom he utters a plethora of unproven accusations and abuse: Jon Jost and Mark Rappaport. Remember that the original purpose of Jon’s petition, and his actions to bring this to public attention, were to restore Mark’s own films to their righful owner (Mark), so that they can have a wider distribution. Carney never acknowledges this key fact in his long diatribe and special pleading.
Here are just a couple of things I found of interest in Carney’s own version of events:
Carney writes that he has -
Page after page of emails documenting the explicitly gifted nature of the original material and the fact that it had been originally destined for the dumpster; page after page reprinting and explaining the lengthy posting on my web site where I explicitly described the material as a gift, and talked about my decision to preserve it rather than throw it away
Of course, without any public or legal proof of this, we only have Carney’s word. We have already seen Mark’s reaction to this. If Carney has these “page after page” he talks about, he had better produce them somewhere to substantiate this. Otherwise, it is just more hot air and hyperbole. Sounds like he is the sort who must be taken to court, where he can either produce these “page after page” – or otherwise explain his own actions. i can’t see any other settlement to this, unfortunately.
Carney also writes, re the petition and petitioners:
I am not equating my situation with the McCarthy years, but it has to give one pause to realize that Boston University is so intimidated by two con-men and a bunch of twenty-year olds who glom onto an internet petition about something they have no first-hand knowledge about.
For the record, I did sign the original on-line petition from Jon. Although I am not an academic, film critic, or filmmaker myself, many who signed the petition are. Some of the names can be found earlier in this thread or on the link provided by Jon to his petition. This is not just a “bunch of twenty-years olds”. I am far past twenty myself, signed my real name on the petition, even though I am not part of the academic film community – just a concerned observer.
I signed because I believe, and still do, that Carney is fabricating and obscuring the original issue, which is, who indeed has the ‘rights’ to these films. If Carney was serious about resolving this matter, it could have been resolved quickly, without the bitterness and acrimony he seems to possess. If he has spent the “thousands and thousands of dollars” of his own money, as he claims, to ‘restore’ these films, then he can produce documentation to back this up. If this were true (we only have Carney’s word for it, at this point), then I am sure some arrangements for fair compensation to him could be made by the parties interested in distributing and ultimately preserving these films. But, this whole issue of exactly what Carney did do to preserve or restore these films is all hearsay, at this point.
In any case, regardless of anyone’s take on this or who one believes, ultimately, it is really about the films and making sure more people can see them and access them. I can’t see any reason why Carney thinks, however deluded he may be re this matter of ‘ownership’, that they are his private property in perpetuity. In his own writing re this issue, he doesn’t come across as any type of reasonable (or even rational) person re this affair. But, I don’t exactly buy his ‘Carney as innocent victim’ angle, either. So, unfortunately, it looks like it will be up to lawyers and the courts to decide who really owns the films.
In my mind, in any situation where the facts are made as murky as they are by Carney, I see no real grounds for him controlling the rights and access to these films – without adequate proof to back up his assertions. The way I look at it, these films really belong to Mark, as the person who made them, afterall, and then the wider film community. If this can be resolved so that these films are made available for distribution, then those who are interested in seeing them, can access them. Otherwise, what is Carney’s intent in keeping them?
Gosh – I’m just about as long-winded as Carney! But I really have no bitterness toward anyone or any personal axe to grind. I hope that some justice does prevail in this issue and that the right thing is done re these films. It is a complex issue, and it is certainly true that we are getting many versions of the facts here. But, don’t just take Carney’s version of this at face value, either. Still, the truth is out there somewhere – and it will come out!
Thanks to those that have updated us on this strange case.
An addendum to my above post – realizing ahead of time the futility of posting this here, at this time, when a key player is absent from the ‘discussion’:
All we need to complete the picture of this series of unfortunate events is for Prof. Ray Carney himself to appear on this site. Then he would have the opportunity to provide answers his critics here and to defend his actions to a community of film lovers and fellow cinephiles. But, we on Mubi are apparently way too small of fish to fry. We have heard on Mubi from Mark and Jon, though, but not from Prof. Carney.
Were he here, I would say to Prof. Carney that I wish he would stop trying to be a film archivist (against his will in this case, according to his own writings, apparently) and return to what he does best: being a brilliant and insightful film and arts theorist, scholar, teacher, and critic. Go with your strong suit, Prof. Carney, which may not be contentious litigation.
As a staunch defender of independent and ‘small’ films, your own actions look rather petty in the grand scheme of things. As an intellectual and scholar, I support you and your ability to say and think what you want. However, it is time to set your own personal issues and agendas re this affair aside – and get on with the important work in film and cultural criticism for which you are so deservedly admired and respected.
Do the right thing and make sure Mark Rappaport’s films are available to him and to the greater community. This can be made to happen if there is a willingness on your part, as the person in possession of the films, to make it happen. Then we can respect you as a fair-minded defender of the under-represented in film – not as a rather delusional, paranoid bully in this matter.
But I know Prof. Carney seems – from his own take on this – to only care for his own opinions. As a result, to this outside observer of this whole fiasco, he appears, then, to be both intransigent and inflexible re this situation, so far.
I have no tenure or position to defend or any personal stake in this matter – except seeing it resolved in a fair and equitable manner before it gets any more out of hand and, if possible, even uglier for all concerned. To make my own reason for posting to this thread clear: I am a person who loves films of many different types, from different cultures and times. I respect serious film artists, which I think the active posting members and creators of this site do, also. That is why I feel, if an injustice has been done to Mark Rappaport, or if we are missing something from Prof. Carney’s version of this that would clarify his own actions, then this whole L’Affair Rappaport (as Prof. Carney calls it) has gone on for far too long.
Just an opinion from Mubi’s peanut gallery.
I like the idea of a moderated MUBI trial where all evidence can be brought to light to bring some clarification to this situation once and for all.
Is there anything stopping Mark or Ray providing this ‘evidence’ for us to see, or is there legal ramifications involved that mean that this is not possible? A few print screens, and in Ray’s case, a few pictures of the ‘restored’ archive would do a lot more than the mud slinging from both sides without any actual evidence provided.
What concerns me about Carney’s stance is that he seems to be ignoring the reason why Rappaport wants his films back: to actual get the films shown to a wider audience. Seeing as Carney continually bemoans the fact that not many people are able to see the works of Rappaport, it seems a bit odd that he would be the person to stand in the way of Rappaport’s works reaching a wider audience. At least in the case of the Shadows situation, he claims that if he relinquished the film, it would be destroyed and nobody would be able to see it.
This whole situation is very sad.
GREAT JOB EVERYONE!
Let’s all pile up on someone without understanding the whole story or even caring to look at all the variables. That’s the age of the internet, let’s all jump on this wagon and think we are being individuals! That’s a load of crap.
A mubi trial???? are you kidding me, the last thing this world needs is more group think and especially at the hands of commenters who feel the need to bully and goat a good friend of mine Ray Carney.
I had him as a teacher and he was nothing but supportive and inspiring and to see him pushed to his wits end because two people tried to get him fired is sickening. Even more so is this 14 pages worth of so called “camaraderie.”
I can gather two things from all of this. First there are only two people who can fix this, Mark and Ray. For Jon Jost to work his way into this “crusade” is mean and that everyone was so willing to cast blame before Ray even opened his mouth is even worse. Second if you are all claiming he has no proof I would say his meeting with Boston University is more than enough.
I know from first hand experience they want him fired and here it looks like they have that opportunity on a silver platter, BUT WHAT HAPPENED?! In a meeting with the dean, chairman, and a LAWYER he must of provided some sort of proof to exonerate himself or else he would be fired by now. I wasn’t in the room but I know the environment and any misstep would have been pounced on and yet Ray still teaches.
I can understand why he wrote such a long and paranoid essay, this whole debacle crept into his personal life and livelihood.
This should have been left up to the courts to decide and should never have become a crusade to destroy someone.
Thanks for the compliments, Ben. I have met a number of former Carney students, and I begin to think he has an almost Svengali quality about him and runs a cult, so fervid is their support (whatever the evidence). I concur though that a MUBI “trial” would be a dubious matter. Though those who call for a real-world one haven’t read very well and are naive about the American legal system.
I do note that Mr Carney’s “long and paranoid essay” preceded his troubles with Mr Rappaport. I know – I published it at his request. And his BU website was rather full of the same for some years.
Had he been responsive to earlier, private emails regarding this, he could have spared himself this – but he did not, and it seems clear it was his hope it would all blow over, be forgotten, and he’d have Rappaport’s materials.
He has only himself to blame for his situation.
This is not just a “bunch of twenty-years olds”.
I appreciate everyone rallying to Ray’s side. I appreciate Carney’s concern in trying to exhonorate himself, even though I couldn’t make it through the letter, despite the fact that it’smostly about me. And I will very soon print a rebuttal here. His falsification and misrepresentation of every single incident is absolutely staggering. I won’t go over everything point by point. I will, however publish the court affidavit, dated Aug 13, 2012, in which he swore he gave away and/or destroyed much of my material and I will publish as well his, again, sworn affidavit, dated Aug 27, 2012in which he gives a complete inventory of everything that he still had—the court actually DEMANDED that he give them the inventory—in which he stated that he indeed had everything I asked for and that it was all in fine shape. You know what that means, don’t you—two sworn statements that contradict each other? It starts with a “P.” (I may have the dates wrong but I can check that out.) There is no point in re-hashing every one of Carney’s deliberate misstatements—except to say he will do and say anything to hold onto the material, even perjuring himself in court. And for what reason? He didn’t write, direct, produce or edit any of these films. They’re mine and were made by me. He doesn’t have the rights to sell, distribute, or exhibit them. They all belong to me. He has video masters in formats which he knows nothing about and has no access to machines that could possibly play them. In other words, he prefers to sit on them rather than release them to me, the rightful owner. For what reason, it’s very hard to figure out. He mewls incessantly about how they were given to him as “a gift,” which they weren’t. And even if they were, which they most certainly were not, they are not diamond rings or mink stoles. There’s nothing he can do with the material, except let it deteriorate. He holds onto the stuff because they’re in his possession. He has them because he CAN. Despite his hi-falutin talk about morals and ethics and honesty and truth, he realizes, like every greedy little capitalist, that property is 9/10 of the law. Probably even more than that. I had zero interest in stirring up a hornet’s nest. I just wanted my films back—just as he returned several masters to me when I asked for them in 2010, with no fuss and no bother. They are after all, MY films, not his. He is not a legitimate archive, he has no use for the materials. I do. I need them and I want them. And they’re also mine.
As far as his expenditures—thousands and thousands of dollars— in “preserving” my films, this letter was the first I ever heard of it. He never mentioned a word to his lawyer about it and in the time I had been corresponding with him, not a word was uttered. When he was required to come up with an inventory, over 7 years after I entrusted the material to him, he had to rummage through the original boxes to itemize everything. So, he wants thousands and thousands of dollars. Who doesn’t? I will tell you this however—when last heard from, his lawyer’s fees were about $8,000. Carney was willing to return my stuff for $27,000. My lawyer offered him $4,000. Carney came down to $19,000. My counter-offer and final figure was $7,000, which Carney rejected.
You can tell me what a great teacher he is and I believe you. But please don’t try to tell me what an honest truthful, ethical person his, as he describes himself in every single diatribe.
More to follow…
To begin, I think you’re overstating the response against Carney (if only slightly); there have been numerous individuals who have remained open minded in regards to the truth of this situation. There is, undoubtedly, a large number of people on this site – where else is this being talked about? – who have had their minds made up from the beginning about who is to blame, most of them deciding that the person at fault is Carney. There are a myriad of reasons for this being the case and there is no question, from my experiences on this website alone, that Carney is and continues to be a divisive and polarizing figure. The response he has garnered isn’t particularly unique or unexpected. However, I think you’re being a bit quixotic and naive if you had the expectation that people would reserve judgment until the case had been settled in a court of law or until Carney’s belated response. The court of public opinion isn’t always judicious and the court of law isn’t always equitable.
So where does that leave those of us who admire both individuals and want nothing more than resolution? Carney is a public figure and can’t expect people to reserve opinion in all aspects, over such a contentious issue, until his side is presented, especially when he waits nearly 8 months to give his side of things. Like I said in my last post: I’ve remained open minded about who is most at fault and who needs to be compensated for what. But with one side remaining willfully silent how were any of us supposed to support any outcome other than Mark’s materials being returned?
I think an appropriate and analogous example to this case is Carney’s relationship with the Rowland’s estate over the works of Cassavetes, in particular the alternate version of Shadows. Many of his staunchest advocates (myself included) have supported him in his pursuit to make the unseen works of Cassavetes available. We were able to take this stance because Carney provided another side to the story. Much like the issue at hand, there is no way to be certain that Carney is being completely forthcoming on that matter, but he at least provides his perspective. If he had presented his case from the beginning, either to Jon Jost, who had contacted him, or in a blog posting, like he has now, I have to think it could have only been beneficial.
I can only speak for myself here, but I never desired to see Carney fired as a result of the online petition or any pressure put upon him from the administration at BU. In reality, much like you’ve said, I expected that if BU did contact him about this issue the only way he could be terminated is if he was being dishonest about his (alleged) documented ownership of the materials in question. It seems, from Carney’s point of view, that that situation is still fluid.
Furthermore, while it may be unfortunate that this is the case, the only way for either side to prove their point (or clear their name) will be to document the evidence that they claim to have. I would love to see a legitimate judiciary provide their opinion on the matter, but that seems wildly unrealistic. With that being the case the only remaining avenue for either side state their case will be in the court of public opinion.
Think of it this way, had,an identical situation happened to a different critic, say Peter Travers, how would have Carney himself reacted? He’s hardly been a shrinking violet when it comes to throwing his opinion out there regarding the importance of having great artists works accessible. See his arguments about/with the Cassavetes estate for examples. If one were to take his teaching about films, rather than his never ending complaints about mistreatment, as the standard, then the sentiment being expressed about Mark’s films should be seen as being consonant with the values Carney himself has expressed on numerous occasions. The contradiction lies with him, not those asking for the return of the films or evidence of why this isn’t possible. He is undermining everything he alleged himself to stand for over the years and those unquestioningly supporting his position are themselves suggesting that the “religion” is less important than the “preacher” which is troublesome to say the least. I personally don’t care one way or the other about Carney getting “punished”, my interest is in seeing Mark’s legacy treated with the sense of importance it deserves, which means going beyond nebulous claims so far without support to something more concrete and meaningful.
I don’t know Carney personally nor was my understanding of films in any way indebted to him, but I also know a number of people here who do owe Carney a great deal as to how they look at movies, and I can appreciate that. My concern though is that what has been learned becomes secondary to who taught it and that the attitude adopted by the teacher becomes inextricably linked to the perspective of the student. If there is no distance between the teacher and his works, then it is a cult of personality, and in this case, one with many things about which those of us on the outside of it have reasonable concerns about, which I’ve elaborated on before and won’t bother to repeat at the moment since that is going beyond the purpose here which is the fate of Mark’s films.
Jerry, what information are you privy to, to suggest Carney is lying here?
The emails that Jon posted. They’re mind boggling in the specificity of their instructions for deceit.
“Let’s all pile up on someone without understanding the whole story”
How would we go about getting “the whole story”? Mark is here. Jon is here. Where’s Ray?
I don’t want to re-iterate points, so will keep this relatively short. As I said in my latest posts, we clearly are in possession here of two sides of a three-headed monster of a story. We have both Mark Rappaport and Jon Jost on this site to provide us their perspective and commentary re this whole mess. I very much appreciate that and the reasonable responses they have made here in a situation which they both must find exceptionally excrutiating and frustrating.
Why I tend to take their side in this, without knowing either one personally or any of the real ‘facts’ in this case, is that all their responses, so far, have seemed to me fair, reasonably restrained under the circumstances, and quite honestly – believable.
With Carney’s response, all I see is bluster, hyperbole, constant and virulent personal attacks, and excessive self-indulgence and self-idolization. In other words, an ego the size of the state of Massachusetts!
So, in this particular court of public opinon, after a very careful and critical reading of all the response so far, including Carney’s, I am firmly on Mark’s side re the return of his material to him.
According to Carney himself, Mark was going to throw these films in the ‘trash bin’ if Carney didn’t take them. I find that extremely hard to believe, but it looks like they might as well be in the trash bin, for all the good they are doing in Carney’s possession.
I sincerely hope these are returned to Mark asap because he is the definitely the rightful owner from what I understand of this. Also, where is the documentation of all those “thousands and thousands” of dollars Carney claims he has spent ‘restoring’ this material? I smell a rat here!
The burden of proof to document his case is in Carney’s court. Otherwise, his response is all a lot of hot air.
Just adding my own 2 cents here: I’ve rallied for Carney in the past, posting discussions on this website about his work, (http://mubi.com/topics/wacky-but-true-or-another-damn-ray-carney-thread?page=1) a few of my emails are published on Carney’s mailbag website, and I still think his books are the best works of film criticism ever written. I don’t know how anyone who has been a fan of Carney can defend him here.
I couldn’t be bothered reading all of his statement, but what struck me immediately was the contradiction between how he has previously describe what he owned of Rappaport’s, (calling himself the “Mark Rappaport archive”) and how he describes it in the new letter. I’m sure there are a bunch of other contradictions but it saddens me too much. I agree with Jost that Carney has lost it and needs help.
I’ve now read Carney’s response and I have to say he HAS been vilified a lot. We live in a world in which many of us [me included] like to jump on a passing zeitgeist ship and take a ride with our fellow internet friends jabbing invectives at those we have all agreed we don’t like. But at the end of the day we have to get off the ship and deal with real life.
I say let’s try and stick with the facts and the law. I do think from an ETHICAL standpoint Carney should return the materials. It seems the right thing to do. But LEGALLY Carney probably has the edge – if for no other reason because he has the material in his possession. I hope I am wrong.
Anyway, I think it would be best if this thing can play itself out without people name calling and asking Carney to seek ‘help’. Personal attacks and accepting only one side of the story is not generally a good way to go about business. You might win some internet debates [and some friends] but you probably won’t convince the other side to agree to your terms or a compromise. Which at this point may be the only option.
Carney is not above this either btw. He takes some jabs at Jost and toward the last half of his essay response he spends more time criticizing Boston University for persecuting him, which seems unrelated to this case – except that I guess he wants to feel he has become a victim of sort.
I DO hope Mark gets his film materials back. I KNOW he is a nice guy because I met him once years ago at a festival. He deserves respect. I’m just sorry that he has found himself in this position. Let’s hope for the best.
Ben Safdie is a great American filmmaker and it would be an honor if he participated in the forums (actually, on the bright side—as if there were such a thing—, this whole controversy has brought Safdie, Jost, and Rappaport to Mubi, some of America’s greatest filmmakers). Safdie’s film The Pleasure of Being Robbed is streaming on Netflix, btw. It should be watched regardless of what you think of Carney or anyone else.
(J&K, that’s actually his brother’s film. I was just “goating” him since he’s such an intellectual thanks to the tutelage of Carney. He’s only co-directed the other one, again with this brother.)
We should watch good films on Netflix Instant, like Scenic Route or Local Color, especially since they’ve been expertly restored like Ur-Shadows!
J&K, that’s actually his brother’s film
Ahh… I got my Safdies confused. I haven’t seen any of Ben’s film—but they look great! And it would be awesome if he participated beyond this, because I know he has fans on the mubi.
We should watch good films on Netflix Instant, like Scenic Route or Local Color, especially since they’ve been expertly restored like Ur-Shadows
I see what you did there.
My idea for a ‘MUBI trial’ was a joke! It’s hard to convey sarcasm over the internet I guess.
What’s most annoying about this whole situation is that it’s happening between two men in their 60s (apologies if I have aged you Mark!) and you would have liked to think that this situation could have been resolved in a more mature manner. What is also annoying is that both men are claiming to have incontrovertible evidence validating their accusations, which means that one of the men is lying on a gross scale, which is very sad for someone who has a lot of respect for both men’s work.
The only thing that needs to be proved for me is whether Mark explicitly claimed that the material was a ‘gift’, that he had no intention of asking for it back, therefore allowing Carney free to do what he wanted with it. If Mark can prove that this was not the case, that’s it for Carney. If Mark simply wanted Carney to look after it for a while, even if he decided to spend thousands of pounds restoring the material, that isn’t Mark’s problem.
To use an analogy similar to Carney’s in his post, if you asked someone to store your motorbike for a while as you were travelling abroad and couldn’t take it with you, but while you left it there, the person decided to kit it out, spending a substantial amount of their own money to improve it without your knowledge, and then when you returned and asked for it, the person demanded thousands from you for the work that they had done on the motorbike without your knowledge of permission, that would not be acceptable.
Ben – I think your accusations are unfair on at least some of us. In the case of myself, Fraser, Mike and Adam, we have defended Carney on this forum many times, and have taken his side in his educational disputes and those with the Cassavetes estate over the first version of Shadows. However, when a man such as Mark Rappaport, who from the comments about him made by Carney himself and David Ehrenstein on here, and based on his postings on here alone comes across as a good guy, makes such serious allegations and we receive no response from Carney, it’s very difficult to defend him, not knowing him personally, without coming across as someone who has an almost cultish devotion to Carney and will refuse to believe he could ever do wrong.
I get the feeling that he may know about MUBI, probably having seen the thread about him on here if he ever googled his own name, and from that I can understand him wanting to steer well clear of the site, but the truth is that this forum would be the only place where he could openly defend himself and directly respond to both Rappaport and Jost. If he was able to provide the evidence proving his innocence on here, what he describes as ‘cyber-bullying’ would end and a strong counter campaign would begin to exonerate Carney (I would certainly try my best to help IF he proved to be telling the truth).
@ Mark He is not a legitimate archive, he has no use for the materials.
This might be the crux of a legal argument. I think it would be customary usage (to coin a phrase) for an academic institution to archive and make available for research materials such as those you gave Carney.
Over 7 years he didn’t archive the materials – there seems to be a breach of an implied contract. As far as I know, Carney does not make available-for-research his Cassavetes materials, which would show a court that his acquisitions don’t follow the normal academic course, suggesting a misrepresentation.
@ Greg what has been learned becomes secondary to who taught it and that the attitude adopted by the teacher becomes inextricably linked to the perspective of the student.
Yeah, and we see that in film analysis – people become engaged with characters and actors rather than
concerning themselves with the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of ideas or feelings expressed.
As for the Carney acolytes, I’m not sure it is all hierarchical, more of a conflation. And again, we see cinephiles conflating the auteur with the message.
Ben Safdie’s IMDb pic:
Carney won’t show up here or anywhere to clear his name until he’s put the finishing touches on The Rappaport Correspondence.
WIGWAM, please keep the tone of the dialogue a bit more respectful. Thank you.
Mark is getting no pleasure whatsoever out of being robbed.
Here’s the latest from Mark:Everyone seems to be so concerned about Carney’s side of the story. All well and good. It took him over 11 months to come up with a letter filled more with hot air than with information—mostly about how everyone is treating him badly, and especially me, who has unfairly, it seems, spreading lies about him on the internet. I don’t intend to go over his attacks and vilification of me point by point and give concrete evidence (which I have in the numerous e-mails he sent me) of his prevarications. Just showing you a couple of examples of his egregious lies might give you an idea of what Carney, who talks endlessly about ethics and morals and honesty and truth (from now on we capitalize them), veers from anything resembling truth when he talks about this situation.
When he finally showed up in court after the third try, after he had defaulted twice and was going to be held in contempt of court unless he turned over my materials (I was paying a lawyer for the other two no-show court appearances of which he had ample notification at his primary residence via FedEx, signed by Mrs. Carney)
This, dated July 12, 2012, three months after I initially tried to contact him by phone (2 phones) and e-mail (3 e-mail addresses) to no avail, was presented to the court. This is his response to the detailed inventory I presented. Carney’s response is shown here with absolutely no alterations, scanned in from the court record.
4. Items that remain in my posession are stored in various locations Finding all such materials would require me to expend numerous days since the material was sent to me in such a state of extreme disarray and remain dsorganized unsorted and uncatalogued. The task could not be done by anyone else because I need to be physically present to identify the search locations and specific items Mr. Rapaport gave me. They are mixed in among many other similar items filmakers have gifted to me and other items of Mr. Rappaports that I have acquitred in other ways
Signed under penalty of perjury,
This from the man who, in another lifetime, wrote about me as “a genuine national treasure,” “one of the world’s great artists,” and “the greatest living American filmmaker.” Maybe I should have been tipped off by the over-blown hyperbole, but who doesn’t like being praised? Strangely enough, the judge never demanded to know where all these materials were stashed and to this day I am in the dark, although I have my suspicions—the same place Norman Bates keeps his mother. But the judge did demand a complete list of everything that Carney did have. Another hearing in front of the judge, which I had to pay my lawyer for—$20,000 by now. After I recovered from this grim bit of news, I decided to call up various labs to get prices on digital transfers from 16mm negatives. The price was a lot cheaper than the cost of going to full trial, which would have cost north of an additional $25,000. Just to get my own stuff back.
Fourth meeting with the judge, but only the second with the defendant’s counsel
present. Dated August 27, 2012, scanned in from the original court document. This was
Carney’s response to the request of the court to supply a full inventory of what he had. He then proceeds to give a full inventory of absolutely everything I had asked for. Nothing whatever was missing
“c) All material has been maintained and preserved for the past seven-and-a-half years in excellen storage conditions. When I visually inspected the material in preparing this inventory I found it generally to be in the same condition when Mr. Rappaport gifted it to me. There has been no noticeable degredation of the material
during the storage period. Most of the items are in good to very good condition. To the extent that the condition of the films and tapes cn be determined through careful visaul inspection by a traned inspector they appearto be suitable for screening and other use. However in some cases, particularly with the orlder flms and tapes the material does ‘show its age.’ Some of it is more than 40 years old. In those cases soem of the material gifted to me was already quite worn and fragile when I received it. Film and tape wear during use and shrink and become increasingly brittle with age. THe material should be handled with extreme care and delicacy to prevent inadverten additional damage. To insure continued preservation of the material, both old and new,,none of the containers shouldbe moved (vibration and jarring are other hazards), opened, exposed to the air, or the items inside th containers touched unless absolutely necessary. and even then only by a competent profesional.
Singed underthe paisn and penalties of perjury,
In other words, he signed two documents, under oath, with totally contradictory testimony. I think there’s a word for that that begins with a “p.” Well, look, I was delighted that my stuff was intact and safe. Sort of. As for the “p” word itself, it doesn’t require a judge to rule on it. Just doing it fits the definition. This from the man who talks about Ethics and Morals and Honor and Truth and…Whatever. The first words his lawyer said to my lawyer were that Carney “will never return the materials. Ever!” So far, that part of it has been true.
He did try to get in touch with me a week before the final court session to make a deal. I sent him e-mails every day asking what he had in mind but he didn’t respond to them. The phone number he gave me was shut off. I told him that if he delivered all the stuff to my lawyer’s office we could call the suit off, although I had already planned to call the it off, due to the additional expense. The day before the hearing, after business hours Boston time, he writes me a breathless e-mail telling me how email service doesn’t really work very well in Vermont. But, anyway, he was in Boston. E-mail doesn’t work there either. In other words, no deal. Jon Jost has the full correspondence on this particular point and may publish it at some later date. But I mention it for a reason. I asked him to deliver the materials to my lawyer in Boston, where Carney lives. After he couldn’t bring himself to make a deal, he then told my lawyer that he would settle if I gave him $27,000.
I would just like to point out two other, well, “discrepancies” between what Carney has said. In an article in Artinfo,
I was was very surprised to read this
“According to a former colleague of Carney’s who wished to remain anonymous, and who spoke to Carney immediately after news of the situation began spreading around the Internet, Carney, at that time, claimed that he never refused to return Rappaport’s materials but only wanted him to cover the shipping costs to send them to France. Carney also said, according to this source, that the online reports circulating were filled with mistruths.”
Oh, so that’s what the money he wanted was for, despite the fact that I never asked for anything to be sent to France. Ever. But according to this news item that’s what the $27,000 was for, even though both my lawyer and Carney were in Boston. Which brings us to the refreshingly improvised story about him spending thousands and thousands of dollars restoring and preserving my films. He had never once, in all the years that he had the materials, mentioned to me, or to his lawyer that he spent anything at all, stashed, as they were ”in various locations.” When he was required to provide an inventory, it couldn’t be clearer that he had not even opened the boxes that they were shipped in, seven and a half years ago. He didn’t even know what was in the boxes until he was forced to itemize the contents. The same was true in 2010, when I initially asked him for some of my video masters, which he did, fortunately for me, return to me. He went looking through the boxes to find them. And again, everything I asked for, he found.
And to conclude, here is a copy of an e-mail I sent to Carney, be before I initiated a law suit, after many days of not getting a response from him. This was dated April 26, 2012, while he was still teaching. It was sent to all three of his e-mail addresses and a copy was even hand-delivered to his office at school.
I have repeatedly asked you to send me the materials I left with you seven years ago. I especially need the digital masters of THE SCENIC ROUTE, IMPOSTORS, CASUAL RELATIONS, and CHAIN LETTERS. I already told you that I have two companies that are very interested in streaming my films. Without these digital masters, I can’t do anything. The digital masters can also be used for DVDs and any future video technologies down the road. Without them, these films are effectively lost. When you generously, or so I thought, offered to take my “archives” seven years ago, I thought I was depositing them with Boston University, not with you personally. Nor did I ever imagine there would be so much difficulty and resistance to getting my stuff back.. Since streaming technology didn’t even exist seven years ago—and if it did, I didn’t know anything about it—I couldn’t have foreseen how crucial the materials I placed in your hands would be for future showings of my work.
In addition, you have 16mm copies of many of my films, both short and long, as well as different drafts of scripts and copies of reviews and other artifacts. I have, over the last few years developed relationships with George Eastman House and also, especially, with the Cinémathèque Française here in Paris, and I believe that they would be more than willing recipients for many of the items in the boxes I sent you. And much more reliable custodians for making my work available to whomever might be interested in it.
I haven’t the foggiest idea of what it could possibly mean to you to hold onto to these materials, yet your reluctance to return emails or phone calls or to make yourself even remotely accessible to my needs suggests your unwillingness to relinquish my materials.. To me it means a great, great deal to have access to them.
Maybe you haven’t considered this or thought about this at all, but I have. Your unwillingness to return my tapes (and everything else) to me would effectively guaranty my disappearance from the film world. For good. If I’m not able to provide the digital
tapes of THE SCENIC ROUTE, CASUAL RELATIONS, IMPOSTORS, and CHAIN LETTERS, they are as good as lost, as if they had never been made, as if I had never made them, as if I didn’t exist. The chance to get them out in whatever digital format would guarantee that they would be shown, somehow, somewhere. Without the digital tapes, the negatives will continue sitting in the vaults of MOMA, untouched, unwatched, unavailable forever. The chances of anyone or any organization either having the interest, inclination, and, even more importantly, the cash to go through the very expensive process of digitizing these films, during my lifetime, is next to nil. I might as well never have made them. You are, in a sense, negating my life as an artist. If you, who used to proclaim yourself my most ardent supporter, want this added to your resumé—that he was also the guy who willfully, knowingly, and deliberately was responsible for keeping Rappaport’s films permanently out of circulation, for willingly suppressing them, for whatever reasons, making sure that they never saw the light of day again within my lifetime, so be it. At this point, it is you, not an uncomprehending, unappreciative world, who is preventing me from reaching audiences that might never have had a chance to see my films before. It is you who is willfully depriving me, not only of finding new audiences and resuscitating my reputation, but also depriving me of any incomes I might get from the showings of these films in any digital formats. Do not fool yourself with any intricate rationalizations—at this point, you are the main obstacle to my films being seen during my lifetime. If you want this little footnote attached to your name, so be it.
I would like all my stuff back as soon as possible.
You can send all the materials I sent you via FedEx (three day delivery) to _______, __________, New York, New York 10012, _________. Charge it to my Visa account #___________. Expiration date ______. # on the back _____.
I expect you and implore you to do this as soon as possible.
For all the obvious reasons, I left out the name of the person to whom the stuff was to be sent as well as my credit card number. I think this blows the lid off the anonymous colleague story who said Ray just wanted to money to return my materials to France. Or that I expected him to pay the shipping costs. The man will say anything to anyone.
Fortunately for me, internet exists. Thanks to the very generous and unstintingly gracious and time-consuming efforts of Jon Jost and Daniel Levine, I was able to get this story out into the world. They organized a petition on my behalf signed by 1,200 people within a week and a half imploring Carney to return my stuff to me. Among the signatories were Gus Van Sant, Todd Haynes, Atom Egoyan, Susan Seidelman, Guy Maddin, Jim Jarmusch, Tom DiCillo, Monte Hellman, Costa-Gavras, Barbara Kopple, Bela Tarr, John Waters, Olivier Assayas, as well as, from the other side of the aisle, Ken Jacobs, James Benning and many, many more. I think these people know what it is to make a film and can appreciate what it means to be deprived of your own work. None of this made any impression on Carney.
Here are links to Jon Jost’s website, laying the issues out as clearly and cogently as possible.
Not a single word in any of the petitions, letters, and documents I have sent out is a lie or an invention or a distortion. And this is the very short version of the whole mess.
For those of you who want to hear Carney’s side of the story, as if there isn’t enough information out there already, I wish you luck. So far it has been filled with nothing by obfuscations, evasions, prevarications, procrastination, contradictions, bombast, and self-pity. He will bellyache endlessly about how I gave my life’s work to him as “a gift”—not so—and therefore will not relinquish it, even though he has no use for it, can’t do anything with it and, probably—I’m only guessing here—doesn’t even want it. Everybody seems to do him dirty. But most of all, Ray Carney.
A remarkable document! Thank you for sharing this with us, David & Mark.
This bit was the key for me, and what makes me so sad (and yes, angry) re the consequences of Carney’s actions to date:
The chances of anyone or any organization either having the interest, inclination, and, even more importantly, the cash to go through the very expensive process of digitizing these films, during my lifetime, is next to nil. I might as well never have made them. You are, in a sense, negating my life as an artist.
Powerful words and sentiments, indeed!
I hope this thread, and the responses from all concerned, gets lots of google hits. This story should be known by anyone who values independent film and the rights of the artist to preserve their own work. I really hope for the opportunity someday to see these films, if anyone can ever access the Carney vault (or melt his heart of apparent stone).
Very well said, Mark! All the best on getting this resolved, too!
I now leave this thread for those directly involved, as their story is really what counts in all this – not my own take on any of this. As I have said, I am an interested observer. I am honored to have contributed my own (totally unknown) name to the petition to accompany such a fine list of filmmakers and film scholars, many of whose works I know and love. Now, I want to know and love Mark’s, too!
I’ll await the updates.
I wonder how much Ray Carney would charge if you lent him a pen and wanted it back.
Hi MUBI people!
I just want to point out that before helping Mark and Jon with this project, I sent Ray an e-mail myself, asking if there was some sort of misunderstanding or if he had a side to this. To both e-mails that were available. I called two of the three numbers that we had for him, no response. Just as he hadn’t responded to Jon, who Carney is now claiming is a conspiracy theorist for claiming Guantanamo Bay exists while comparing himself to the late Howard Zinn. Some screws seem to have gone loose.
This is not a personal vendetta for me, I just want to see Mark’s work available to the public so that he can make some money on it (he deserves it) and so that members of the public like myself can watch these excellent films. This is why I spent a lot of my own time helping Mark put together the ebook release of “The Moviegoer Who Knew Too Much” and when Mark generously offered to compensate me for my services, I declined. It was the right thing to do, and that was enough. Hopefully some of you have enjoyed reading the book as much as I did while helping format it. If you haven’t checked it out yet, I highly recommend it.
I visited BU to discuss the situation with Fiedler etc., and Jon reposted my notes on my visit there on his blog. A woman who had once been a graduate student of Carney’s agreed to speak with me while I was there, and claimed that his office was hosting an “archive” the same way that woman who had a house full of rotted pumpkins on Hoarders was hosting the “Great Pumpkin Archive”, just poorly sorted boxes in danger of toppling all over the place. Accusations were brought up in the BU film archive that I don’t have the time or resources to research. They claimed that they had been victims of multiple instances of relatively inexplicable and shady dealings by Carney in the past. These aren’t “high-level administrators” with any sort of jealousy/hierarchy motivations, but people working in the film archive who have simply had difficulties with Carney in the past.
Anyway, that’s all for now. Sorry this got kinda long.
-Daniel Levine, Owner@ Tristero Books and author of “Every Time I Check My Messages, Somebody Thinks I’m Dead: A Memoir of Occupy Wall Street”