Deco Dawson vs Marcel Dzama

Official release from Deco Dawson April 16, 2010

McRoberts Law Office LL.P. has issued a notice of copyright infringement to The Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art. As a result the artwork in question has been taken down.

McRoberts Law Office LL.P., on behalf of their client filmmaker Deco Dawson, sent The Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art, Canada’s premiere contemporary art museum, on Friday April, 9th 2010, a notice of copyright infringement and demand to cease and desist from further exhibition the work The Lotus Eaters by Canadian artist Marcel Dzama. The Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art immediately removed The Lotus Eaters from the exhibit.

The Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art is presently showcasing a major exhibit entitled “Of Many Turns” on the recent work of international visual artist Marcel Dzama. Alongside drawings, paintings, sculptures and installations the museum was also showcasing a 19 minute short film credited to Marcel Dzama entitled The Lotus Eaters (2007). The content of The Lotus Eaters is made up almost entirely of a short film written, directed and produced by filmmaker Deco Dawson in 2001 entitled FILM(dzama).

The Lotus Eaters appears to be a retitled and very slightly reedited version of FILM(dzama), lacking the original music, opening title and end credits, and also lacking any credit attributed towards Mr. Dawson, his crew, the performers or funders of the project. Mr. Dzama has assumed full credit for the film and has, according to online archives and videos, been exhibiting the film, whole or in part, unauthorized, in galleries, installations and publications as his own work since 2005 and has conducted media interviews as the work’s creator.

The original work FILM(dzama) based on the artist Marcel Dzama and produced in agreement with the artist in 2000, was released in September 2001 at the Toronto International Film Festival where it won the festival’s “Best Short Film Award.” The film went on to receive mass critical appeal and has screened at over 100 film festivals worldwide.

Deco Dawson is recognized internationally as an innovative, independent filmmaker with a recognizable visual style as evidenced in FILM(dzama). Deco Dawson has worked with major artists such as filmmakers Guy Maddin, Gary Burns, Noam Gonick, visual artists Louis Jacobson, Adam Pendleton, Glen Ligon, Sarah A. Johnson, and bands Metric and Inward Eye among others. His 14 short films have screened internationally at hundreds of film festivals and Mr. Dawson has been host to retrospectives of his work around the world.


From the Winnipeg Free Press April 22, 2010

Winnipeg artists involved in copyright dispute

Two Winnipeg artists are involved in a copyright dispute that is earning national attention.

The Globe and Mail reported Wednesday that the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art (MMCA) has stopped screening a film by New York-based artist Marcel Dzama after he was accused of plagiarism by experimental filmmaker Deco Dawson.

At issue is Dzama’s 19-minute film The Lotus Eaters, which he made in 2005 and which Dawson claims borrows uncredited footage from his 23-minute 2001 production, FILM(dzama).

The Globe quotes Dawson as saying he asked Dzama to give him proper credit for using the footage but Dzama did not reply. He then had his lawyer notify the MMCA of Dzama’s alleged plagiarism.

Dzama, 35, was born and raised in Winnipeg, where he first achieved prominence as part of the Royal Art Lodge collective. He moved to New York in 2004.

Dawson, 31, a noted director of numerous experimental films and a one-time collaborator with Guy Maddin, still lives here. His Dzama effort was named best Canadian short film at the 2001 Toronto International Film Festival.

The MMCA is in the final days of a three-month retrospective of Dzama’s work.


Side by side video comparison of FILM(dzama) and The Lotus Eaters

Deco Dawson’s FILM(dzama)


~ by cineflyer on March 26, 2011.

One Response to “Deco Dawson vs Marcel Dzama”

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