Saturday, August 16, 2014

Reddit Discussion Exposes Short Film Thievery

What do you do when you discover your 2008 short film My Mom Smokes Weed has been co-opted - as Smoked - by another filmmaker to bolster their reel? If you're Austin-based Clay Liford, you challenge the thief on Twitter while also making sure the full story is relayed.

Liford tells University of Texas at Austin student and Austin Chronicle editor Neha Aziz that he was tipped to a Reddit discussion about the tactics of Frankie Hopkins by a fellow filmmaker:

"From what I understand, he [Hopkins] at some point was collecting these movies in order to build a résumé from which to acquire jobs, as well as a base for an ill-fated crowd-sourcing campaign for a feature," Liford said...
"The ultimate creepy factor is that Frankie seems to stalk his chosen movies as if they were the victims of a serial killer. He first finds a film he likes or feels is a good candidate for theft. Then he announces on social media that he has a new project. He actually times-out production reports – often with either stolen, behind-the-scenes pictures, or fabricated ones which may actually feature him. Then he re-edits your trailer, and releases it. And finally, he sends out your altered film for the whole Web to see. Like an altered Patty Hearst version of your movie," says Liford.

Liford gave Hopkins a "window of forgiveness" within which to apologize, but the latter chose not to take advantage of this very generous offer. Intriguingly enough, Liford's subsequent short Slash was produced by one of reporter Aziz's colleagues at the Chronicle, fellow editor Louise Black).

[My Mom Smokes Weed]

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