Today Filip Jan Rymsza, the tight-lipped, publicity-averse organizer of an attempt to restore Orson Welles‘ The Other Side of the Wind (upon which work has never seemingly begun) issued a bizarre non-statement. He did so in response to Ray Kelly‘s 4.4 piece on wellesnet.com that stated (a) Netflix has been negotiating to come aboard for the last few months but that (b) Welles’ longtime squeeze and partner Oka Kodar is still making trouble and delaying things by demanding this and that. (I riffed on Kelly’s article last Tuesday.)
Rymsza declined to mention the possible Netflix deal (“Naturally our conversations with potential partners have been confidential”) but says “we have been very close, at times a week or weeks away, but, through no fault of our own ” — i.e., because of that Croatian banshee Oja Kodar — “those weeks turned into months.”
Then he said “we are working tirelessly to finish the film”, which sounds questionable as he doesn’t seem to have the money to even halfway complete, much less finish, the process.
Kelly’s piece stated that Rymsza has spent $70K in legal fees and has squandered $40K on Sasha Welles‘ 11-week stay in Los Angeles in early ’15 that yielded nothing. Subtract this $110K from the $406K raised by the OSOTW Indiegogo campaign, and there’s less than $300K remaining. This against a $1.695 million pre-Netflix budget to compete the film means that Rymsza is $1.4 million in the hole.
Rymsza goes on to say that “the intense attention the film has received and our long silence have fueled rumors and false news stories, which threaten to jeopardize our plans. Even this update, which is admittedly long overdue, and the frustration being voiced by some fans, however justified, will likely create even more unwanted press…but I owed it to you to break our silence.”
“Break the silence”? By saying absolutely nothing?
Rymsza concludes with the following: “As our new partners on this 30-year journey to finish Orson’s final film, I know we all have the film’s best interests at heart. We could not have come this far without your support. I greatly appreciate your patience and hope to share our exciting plans as soon as I am able.”
Obviously that first sentence isn’t grammatical. “As our new partners on this 30-year journey to finish Orson’s final film”…what? He’s presumably referring to Netflix but the clause is meaningless. Is Rymsza trying to say “as our new partners on this 30-year journey to finish Orson’s final film would doubtless agree” or something like that?
I’m sorry but Rymsza sounds insane, Kodar is insane, the Netflix guys probably made a huge mistake in getting involved, and the spirit of Orson Welles is probably looking down from the clouds and saying, “Guys…please. Just drop it. Let it go. My reputation has been in pretty good shape since my death and has actually grown in stature since the 2015 centennial, and I don’t want to risk anything that might compromise it. Please.”
Here’s a 2.6.12 Lou Lumenick piece about the situation in the N.Y. Post.