Francois Morisset, the owner of Salaud Morisset, a short film distribution company, has reportedly been involved in contentious dealings over the distribution of the short films ASHMINA and ANNA in 2019, at the time when the two films were already under contract for distribution, for a period of six years.
In late 2019, in what appears to be a questionable move, Mr. Morisset proposed to orchestrate an Oscar campaign for ASHMINA, demanding additional payments between €3,000 and €9,000, contingent on the film’s success in the process. This demand, not covered in the original signed agreements, seemed to exploit his agency’s alleged role in distributing the previous year’s Oscar winner, SKIN. Being the distribution company of the films, promotion of the films was part of the original agreement, so Mr. Morisset’s request for extra funds can already be seen as running contrary to the spirit of the agreement.
The filmmaker, seeking clarity, contacted the director and producer of SKIN, the previous year’s Oscar winner. They both informed him that Mr. Morisset had allegedly no significant role in the film’s Oscar success and advised against the €3000-€9,000 payment. Consequently, the filmmaker respectfully declined Mr. Morisset’s offer.
Unexpectedly, Mr. Morisset’s response to this decision allegedly took a vindictive turn. The filmmaker noticed that ASHMINA was not included in the list of Oscar “predictions” in Mr. Morisset’s company emails, suggesting a retaliatory stance by Mr. Morisset. These actions, appearing to be both punitive and unprofessional, paint a certain picture of Mr. Morisset’s alleged business conduct.
The removal of ASHMINA from the company’s email predictions list by Mr. Morisset not only seems to be a petty and childish act of vengeance but also one that could potentially harm the film’s prospects. This action, which could be seen as a form of bullying, is not only unprofessional but also ostensibly ridiculous, reflecting a spiteful response to the filmmaker’s refusal to comply with the additional payment demands, not included in the original agreement.
Such behavior not only undermines the professional integrity of Mr. Morisset’s company but also had put the film at a disadvantage, depriving it of deserved recognition and opportunities in a crucial phase of its Oscar campaign. This approach, seemingly aimed at strong-arming the filmmaker, casts a shadow on the fairness and ethical standards of Mr. Morisset’s business practices.
In addition, when a different film by the same filmmaker, ANNA, won the prestigious BIFA award, Mr. Morisset did not acknowledge this achievement on his agency’s social media, allegedly deviating from his usual practices. This seemed a punitive reaction to the filmmaker’s refusal to pay the additional amount for ASHMINA, a different film (!!!).
The exclusion of ASHMINA from the email signature, a cost-free and routine inclusion in the company’s correspondence, can only be interpreted as a petty, absurd, and vindictive attempt to strong-arm the filmmaker into complying with the unwarranted payment demand.
Significantly, BONOBO, a film produced by Mr. Morisset himself, was included in these Oscar predictions, displaying different treatment to films produced by his own company, and other films. Moreover, the list of “predicted” films comprised recent signings by Mr. Morisset’s company. In stark contrast to the filmmaker’s situation, these other films were not subjected to the additional Oscar promotion fees that Mr. Morisset had aggressively sought from the filmmaker.
This discrepancy allegedly highlights a clear bias in Mr. Morisset’s promotional strategies, allegedly favoring his own productions, and newly signed films.
Later, in a chat screenshot from November 12, 2019, the producer of the short film HARBOR, another film that had found itself in a similar situation, is shown finalizing a “confidential agreement” with Mr. Morisset:
In a screenshot from November 21, 2019, it’s evident that after the confidential deal, HARBOR was incorporated into the selection of films promoted by Mr. Morisset’s company. This update notably erased any direct mention of the Oscars, severing the previously implied connection between extra payments and promotion efforts.
Crucially, it must be emphasized that two films from the filmmaker, ASHMINA and ANNA, already under a six-year agreement with Mr. Morisset’s firm, were still conspicuously missing from the company’s signature. This omission represents, allegedly, a blatant, senseless, and retaliatory tactic aimed at pressuring the filmmaker into agreeing to the unwarranted financial demands.
Following what are alleged to be unethical actions by Mr. Morisset, the filmmaker became concerned about the potential impact on his two films, ANNA and ASHIMA for the rest of the six year agreement. The refusal to meet Mr. Morisset’s additional payment demands seemed to place the filmmaker in a coercive situation, without any control over his films, now under the hands of someone who had displayed an illogical and unethical behaviour.
In response, the filmmaker requested that Mr. Morisset return the rights to the two films. Allegedly, Mr. Morisset agreed to this, but only under the condition of receiving a €20,000 payment from the filmmaker.
At this juncture, the films’ producer, Mr. Dominic Davey took to Facebook to detail Mr. Morisset’s actions. This post, which outlines the alleged misconduct, remains accessible online and is screenshot below:
Ultimately, prompted by the social media post from Mr. Davey, Mr. Morisset conceded to relinquish the rights to the two films back to the filmmaker, waiving the previously demanded €20,000 payment.
Below are additional screenshots, shedding light on what are alleged to be questionable business practices by Mr. Morisset. This information provides further insight into the manner in which Mr. Morisset reportedly conducts his business dealings.