VANCOUVER EASTSIDE MISSING WOMEN
Fictional Pickton film pulled
Sept 15, 2006
VANCOUVER — The director of a graphic fictional horror film has decided to hold back its distribution until after the murder trial of Port Coquitlam pig farmer Robert Pickton.
"It was supposed to be released in Australia next month, but I pulled the film," director Ulli Lommel said yesterday in an interview. "It will be on hold until [Mr.] Pickton is judged and then we'll see."
Mr. Lommel also said he has abandoned plans to have the film distributed in Canada.
"It cost me a lot of money, but I decided that it was the right thing, out of respect for the Canadian court and the victims.
"I like Canada very much; I like Canadians. They are not as brainwashed as most of us, and I've always been treated really nice when I visited Canada," the German-born director said.
The decision to hold back distribution came after media reports of plans to distribute the film in Australia, beginning Oct. 18, less than two months before a jury will be selected for the Pickton trial.
The 85-minute fictional thriller was billed as "a stomach-turning look" at the killing of as many as 125 Vancouver-based prostitutes and drug addicts over a 20-year period. A fictional figure called Pickton drugs women and feeds them into a wood chipper, mixing the victims' flesh with pork products that are sold to the public, according to the film's promotional material.
The film outraged family members and friends of the victims, who resented the commercial exploitation of their misery. However, Mr. Pickton's lawyer, Peter Ritchie, was not overly concerned about the impact of the fictional portrayal of events on the trial. He said he anticipated those who may be on the jury would stay away from the film.
Mr. Pickton is charged with the murder of 26 women who were addicted to drugs and worked as prostitutes, mostly in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.
Mr. Justice James Williams of the B.C. Supreme Court split the charges last month into a group of six and a group of 20. Prosecutor Michael Petrie has told the court that a trial on the first six charges will begin on Jan. 8. Jury selection is to begin on Dec. 11.
An unusually restrictive court order prohibits publication of evidence in the case before the material is presented to the jury. The publication ban, which is intended to ensure Mr. Pickton has a fair trial, also prohibits the media from publishing information that would identify websites or other sources from which prohibited material could be accessed.
Mr. Lommel, a well-known figure in the world of horror films, has been an actor in 57 movies, directed 39, and written 36, the movie-database website IMDb.com states.
He is the son of a German comic performer. His career in show business began as a child, the website states.
After appearing in several features, Mr. Lommel met German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder and joined his acting entourage. He then went on to make his own movies. He has been in films shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Centre Pompidou in Paris and at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.
Mr. Lommel's filmography also shows he directed Blank Generation and Cocaine Cowboys, two movies that include cameo appearances by icon Andy Warhol. He is currently a partner in the Shadow Factory, an independent studio whose films are released by Sony Pictures and Lions Gate Entertainment.
"His output has ranged from brilliantly accomplished drama with traces of exploitation elements, to out-and-out B-movies with a few distinctive artistic flourishes," the IMDb website states.
© Copyright 2006 Bell Globemedia Publishing Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Courtesy Globe and Mail
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Updated: August 21, 2016