Thursday, 16 June 2011

Your chance to own the rights to Intelligent Design propaganda movie Expelled

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You may remember a couple of years ago there was a lot of talk about a preposterous documentary called Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, in which the former actor (Ferris Bueller's Day Off), gameshow host and Nixon speechwriter Ben Stein made the case for the teaching of Intelligent Design in American schools, mostly by drawing ludicrous Godwin-worthy links between Darwin and Nazism and suggesting that there is a sort of conspiracy which ensures that any scientists or teachers who question evolution are prevented from working in American universities and schools.

We all had plenty of fun with the film back in the heady days of its release. Biologist PZ Myers was barred from entering a screening in Minneapolis, while Richard Dawkins (who had been misled into appearing in Expelled) managed to get in. Meanwhile the film provided endless blog-fodder as we all sat back and enjoyed its inevitable failure. Critics, including renowned reviewer Roger Ebert, savaged it, and attempts to quite literally give the film away proved unsuccessful, as a free screening in Florida failed to fill a Tallahassee cinema. In fact, the film was so bad that even the old chestnut of "you couldn't pay me to see it" took on literal meaning, with the producers offering cash to schools that would take their children to see it.

With all this in mind, then, it may not surprise you to hear that the filmmakers behind Expelled, Premise Media Holdings LP, have filed for bankruptcy. This would be interesting in itself, but what makes it truly great is that one of the consequences of a film company filing for bankruptcy is that the rights to its films go up for auction. Yes, that's right – you (yes, you) could own the rights to Expelled, meaning that every time the film is screened in public you will earn a whopping ... well, let's face it, no one of sound mind is going to be showing this in public again, but there is surely something appealing about someone rational (or the Nazi evolutionist enemy, as those behind Expelled might say) getting hold of the rights. Perhaps the occasional creationist group will screen it, meaning you can make them pay you, and I'm wondering whether owning the rights would allow you to refuse to allow screenings or, even better, re-edit the entire thing. If anyone knows about film rights, please do elaborate in the comments.

The rights will be auctioned via this site between 21 and 28 June. Shall we open some preliminary bidding here? Just to remind you, this is a film that could genuinely stake a claim to being the worst of all time (have a look at my live blog from the day I watched it). What would you pay?
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