Film Festival Tensions

Ben Halligan B.Halligan at
Tue Nov 12 13:54:26 MST 2002

>November 9, 2002 -- Larry Clark stands up for U.S.
>MAVERICK director Larry Clark beat up the distributor for his movie "Ken
>Park" after the jerk declared that America deserved to get attacked on
>Clark, who helmed "Kids" and "Bully," delivered a brutal beat-down to
>McAlpine after the screwy Scotsman started spewing anti-American and
>anti-Israeli sentiments during dinner at London's posh Charlotte Street
>Hotel Thursday night.
>An enraged Clark, 59, punched McAlpine several times in the face - breaking
>his nose - choked him, then overturned the dinner table on the bloodied big
>Clark was arrested by London police - and now McAlpine is pulling "Ken
>from the London Film Festival, where it was supposed to unspool tonight.
>"He says he's not going to distribute the film now and he's pulling it from
>the film festival," Clark told us from London yesterday. "He can be mad at
>me for punching him in the nose, but don't take it out on 'Ken Park.' "
>Clark said he lost it when McAlpine ranted that 9/11 "was the best thing
>that ever happened to America" and declared that innocent Israelis blown up
>by Palestnian suicide bombers "deserved to die."
>"I was wrong," Clark said. "I shouldn't have punched him. I shouldn't have
>lost it. But at the same time, I wouldn't have been able to look myself in
>the mirror the next morning if I hadn't done anything. I'm not gonna let
>this [bleeping] idiot talk about supporting terrorism and the killing of
>innocent people. I am an American!"
>Diners who witnessed the restaurant ruckus included "Ken Park" starlet
>Tiffany Limos, Clark's co-director, Edward Lachman, and Mel B of the Spice
>Girls, who was sitting at a nearby table. Clark said the police who
>him were sympathetic. "The cops were very nice and they seemed to feel like
>they would have done the same thing," he told us. "They let me go with a
>But "Ken Park" is sure to suffer a harsher fate than its hot-tempered
>The controversial flick, which features lots of male and female
>nudity and an explicit three-way sex scene, has yet to find a distributor
>the U.S. Now, "Ken Park" may not be seen in the U.K.
>The buzz surrounding "Ken Park" is similar to the chatter that accompanied
>the release of his debut "Kids," in 1995. The critically acclaimed flick
>featured a gang of Manhattan skater kids who spend their days brawling,
>doing drugs and having unprotected sex. It launched the careers of Chloe
>Sevigny and Rosario Dawson.
>Invitees to tonight's aborted screening in London included director Steven
>Frears, designers Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney, Matthew
>and Bay Garnett.
>from The Observer (London):
>"The gala showing of controversial US director Larry Clark's latest film
>abruptly withdrawn from the London Film Festival last night after the movie
>maverick tried to strangle his British distributor.
>The movie Ken Park was removed from its gala slot after Clark physically
>assaulted Hamish McAlpine, 47, of the London-based Metro Tartan
>group. The fight, during which punches were thrown and which ended with
>Clark overturning a table, happened during a dinner at the Charlotte Street
>Hotel in London on Thursday night, and was prompted by a disagreement over
>reaction to 11 September. In the aftermath of the fight, Clark, best known
>for his 1995 film Kids and for discovering actress Chloe Sevigny, was held
>at a police station for four hours, while McAlpine was treated for his
>injuries. Clark, 59, was later released with a caution.
>'I am hugely disappointed with McAlpine's decision to withdraw the film,'
>Clark said last night. 'I'd never ordinarily fight someone - it's not in my
>nature. If Hamish wants to get his own back, I'll tie my hands behind my
>back and he can have a few free punches. But to take it out on my film is
>just absurd.'
>Last night, McAlpine said he had offered to stick with the film - if Clark
>left the UK. 'Ken Park has been a very difficult film for us to promote,'
>said. 'It was our work that got it on to the Film Festival. But I was not
>prepared to put up with the presence of a racist man. Just as I would not
>allow the BNP a platform for their racist views, I did not want to give
>Clark a platform.'
>Clark, who is renowned for his brutal directorial vision, has been
>variously as a child pornographer and a genius."


Hamish McAlpine's Artificial Eye distribution company may have been stung by
the recent effective bannings of Iranian film-makers from US film festivals.
So one anti-Palestinian / anti-Arab comment from Clark may well have been
enough to provoke the polemic that led Clark to attack.

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