A couple of days ago director Abel Ferrara didn’t call, as scheduled, to discuss his dispute with Wild Bunch honcho Vincent Maraval and IFC Sundance Selects over the decision to offer an R-rated cut of Welcome To New York on 3.27 (theatrical and VOD) instead of Ferrara’s original cut, which Ferrara believes was contractually guaranteed to be shown. But Ferrara did call today and so we kicked it around for 15 minutes or so. Ferrara insisted that he hasn’t worked without final cut “for the last 30 years” and that his final-cut rights are absolute and sacrosanct. He said that Maraval’s characterization of him as a tempestuous artist who compulsively “bites the hand” is “bullshit.”

During our chat Ferrara sent along the following statement: “As a filmmaker and a human being I detest the destruction of my film Welcome to New York, which is now being distributed by IFC and Wild Bunch and exhibited on Showtime and in IFC theatres. Behind all these entities are individuals, in this case Arianna Bocco, Jonathan Sehring and Vincent Maraval, who feel they can deny my contractual right of final cut, which is simply my freedom of expression. Some people wear hoods and carry automatic weapons; others sit behind their desks but the attack and attempted suppression of the rights of the individual are the same. I will defend the right of free speech until the end and I ask all who believe as I do to not support the showing of this film, on their networks, in their theatres, or wherever.”

A partial solution, as I said during our chat, would be if IFC Sundance Selects offers the unrated cut as a VOD option along with the R-rated cut. VOD is the venue through which most people will see Ferrara’s film, of course.

Ferrara’s original cut of Welcome to New York was screened in Cannes last May, of course, but it’s also included on a British Bluray that came out last October.

Two days ago I posted the key points raised by Indiewire’s Eric Kohn in interviews with Ferrara and Maraval. Here’s Kohn’s article.

Again, the mp3.