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On April 10, 2012, two years ago, Mark Rappaport called Ray Carney, tenured professor of Boston University, to ask in person what he’d requested earlier: that the materials he’d left in the US on moving to Paris, and which Carney had said he’d hold for him, be returned.   Carney didn’t answer the phone.  Not then, not later after repeated calls to various numbers over the next month.  In effect – while later giving many stories regarding his sudden inaccessibility – Professor Carney went into hiding.  Curiously it is the same time he ceased communicating with me, not long after I’d done him the favor of posting a long long “letter” regarding BU he’d asked me to print on one of my blogs.  For the full story see this, the first of a series of 10 blog posts covering this whole matter in detail, which I began after Mark had sent out an internet letter in August 2012 explaining his situation.


dblcarneyProfessor Raymond Carney, tenured at Boston University

Now, following all this, following a petition signed by some 1200 people, including some significant “names” in the film biz, I sadly have to report that Professor Carney still stays in effectual hiding, says nothing, and retains Mark’s materials.  What use this has for him is difficult to fathom, though his use of the term “gifted,” which has a specific legal meaning, both in this instance and in the instance of his travails with Gena Rowlands regarding John Cassavetes’ Shadows, suggests something.   Here is what Professor Carney is holding:


Rappaport's materials in Carney's lawyer's office.


The content is 16mm prints of 8 of Mark’s 9 features, one-inch tapes of 5 of the films, the only copies of Mark’s short films, including the original of one of them, the HD master of Exterior Night, the only existing copies in the world from produced as well as many unproduced scripts, and much other paperwork, including reviews and newspaper clippings.  For Professor Carney’s twists and turns regarding all this, see the blog posts.

In light of Carney’s behavior, I will, with some help, organize an attempt to raise funding so that Mark’s films can be transferred to 2K digital files.    The material Carney holds, which includes things which would be very useful for Mark, does not however, include the original negatives.  In some cases new archival prints have been made by George Eastman House.   The Cinematheque Francaise, which is planning a full retrospective of Mark’s work, has had all the original negatives and sound materials sent to Paris, and can provide Mark with the discount they receive for lab work for transfers to 2K if funding can be raised for this.

The cost of making the transfers is estimated to be from $20,000 to $25,000.   Which fund-raising system will be used is as yet undecided, but I am leaning towards Hatchfund, which is a non-profit, and confined to artists and thus more restricted in those it appeals to.  I hope to initiate fund-raising this summer, or perhaps early in the autumn.  We ask that once it is up that you contribute.  I’ll be posting here, on FaceBook and other social media systems when the time comes.







A year ago, today, I received in the email – along with many others – a note from filmmaker Mark Rappaport, detailing the sad story of himself and Professor Ray Carney of Boston University.   I won’t repeat the story here, but refer you to the previous posts, Chained Relations, 1 through 10.    Here, a year later, I unhappily report that Ray Carney still holds Mark’s materials.  While he has never communicated with me – despite my emails to him – it seems clear that he is adamant on holding onto these items, come hell or high water.  I had, I guess foolishly, entertained a bit of optimism that he’d come to his senses and silently, or with an apology, return it all.  I asked a handful of some of his friends and supporters to talk with him about it, which they did, only to be rebuffed.   So, belatedly I must join Mark in resignedly accepting that Professor Carney is apparently intent on holding these materials of Mark’s, and no appeal to reason or passion is going to change that.  What Mr. Carney’s reasons are can be fathomed only, evidently, by himself.

Below is an “Open Letter” to Mr. Carney.  I toss in the towel in regards to trying to persuade the man to do the right thing and return Mark’s films, tapes, papers.  It is clear he is not going to do so, whatever it costs him.  A matter of warped pride?  I frankly have no idea.  In the coming months I will do what I can, and ask others to do with me, to try to find the funding to go back to the film originals – housed in a handful of archives (Eastman House, MoMA), and see if new prints or K2 copies can be made from these.  For an independent filmmaker like Mark, the cost of doing so is prohibitive and out or reach, though in the big “real” world of the film business it is actually rather marginal.   So if anyone reading this knows any major figures, it would help to contact them.  Meantime likely we’ll try a crowd-funding path.  I’m open to any suggestions and help.

September 6, 2013

Dear Ray,

I hesitate to use this greeting as it implies a certain familiarity, a level of “friendship” which never existed in our case, though in your public persona you sometimes referred to me as your “close friend,” something which you’ve done with a number of others.   I spent at most a few hours in your presence, usually occupied with others.  I think perhaps I spent perhaps 20-30 minutes actually talking with just you – not, in my view, the foundation of a close friendship. And in turn this makes your other assertions of “close” friendships with others seem suspect to me.   So I use the “dear” rather rhetorically, as occurs in business letters.

A year ago and some, I sent you numerous emails to inquire about what had happened after I printed, at your request, your long broadside against Boston University. You replied several times, and then, precipitously, at the end of March, your emails ceased, and I wondered about your health or worse and sent you a number of queries, to no response.  And then on Sept 6th, 2012, I received Mark Rappaport’s public notice that you’d in effect seized his work, with the legal shit hitting the fan more or less exactly when you dropped, evidently willfully, off my radar.  It all clicked together rather directly.

Having spun around the sun a good many times and learned a good many things for my bother, on reading Mark’s public notice, I surmised, on my own, that for Mark the result would be a few “oh, so sorry” notes, a good many silent kept-to-self sighs of people thinking what a nasty world this is, and then an ominous silence, and a week or two later it would all be forgotten, and Mark, exhausted, would toss in the towel and resign himself to an unwarranted fate.  In my life I have seen such things a good handful of times, and I have, in my turn, picked up whatever was needed and done what I could to correct the obvious abuses.  I did so long ago on the Board of Directors of Canyon Cinema; when the Independent Feature Project in 1979 gave birth to itself with a totally fraudulent and rigged gathering in NYC; when my own work was illegally copyrighted by my erstwhile “friend” and “producer” in 1994; and when my daughter was kidnapped by her mother in 2001. And of course I did so in 1964 when I refused to participate in America’s military.   In each case trivial and empty people castigated me – people who knew little or nothing of the circumstances of these matters – for daring to speak in public.  It left me what is called a “reputation”  –  one as a hot-head, a loose-cannon, and all the usual epithets for dissidents of all stripes.  I’m used to it and not bothered.  My real friends know otherwise, and I care not at all for the broad “public opinion” which seems to govern the behaviors of most people.  So when I took up Mark’s cause, it was 100% on my own initiative and fully knowing that once again, there would be those who would scoff, make shallow he-said-she-said false arguments, and all the rest.  He did not ask me to do it, as you’ve imagined in your public words;  rather I had to ask him if it was OK for me to do so.

You should know about this kind of thing, firstly because you too trail a “reputation” – of squabbles with BU, with Gena Rowlands, with claims of “gifts” unsubstantiated, and other things.  And now the matter of claiming ownership of Mark’s materials.  You also have a reputation among former students as an inspiring and influential teacher.  More or less like me, you have both your harsh critics and a cluster of strong supporters.   And you did exactly the same with me, as I’ve seen with Mark and others:  make a great statement of support, and then turn around and issue insult or worse.  Here I will quote from your own record, public and private:

Written to me in an email, 12/22/11, when we were conspiring to print your erstwhile letter, purportedly innocently sent to me, regarding BU:

“Keep fighting the good fight. And thanks, Jon! You’re a mench!! (sic)”


“Stay well. Keep going. And keep telling the truth, even if (and when) people may not recognize it, or want to hear it. We have to both keep giving our gifts, even if only a few people understand or want them.”

After that you wrote two further emails requesting I hold up publishing your BU piece so it would be up as students were signing up for courses.  And then, on March 27, your emails ceased, more or less at the time your situation with Mark Rappaport took a nasty turn.  You did not answer numerous emails inquiring what impact the item had had, and as your silence took on a vaguely ominous quality, I wrote with questions about how you were.  You never wrote or contacted me again  –  curious treatment of a person you’d publicly called “my good friend.”

Subsequently in your very long public piece of March 18 2013, you excoriated me in various ways – I link so readers can go check if they wish.

So while I was conspiring with you, and evidently before, I was in your eyes a heroic truth-teller, and like Mark, a major-if-little-known American filmmaker, battling those ever-present forces of evil.  But when I asked for some truth from you, I instantly became a demon.

For much of the time since Mark’s circumstance was made public, I held out with some optimism that at some point you’d come around, return his materials and perhaps issue some kind of apology.  It seemed the reasonable, honest, and wise thing to do.  I thought you’d do it.  At my request, three or four of your supporters – former students, some people in the small little non-commercial film world – talked to you about all this, but it seems you rebuffed them.  And in the interim a few people pointed out to me some things which suggest that my early hunch that you are simply around the bend is all too accurate.  So, sadly, I guess I join Mark in his resignation that you are simply not going to return his materials, for whatever mangled reasons you have.

In one of your notes about Mark’s film Casual Relations, you make the observation:

“We are all under somebody’s thumb–to quote the Jagger lyric Rappaport uses–if we’re not thumb-wrestling ourselves and pinning ourselves down.”

Perhaps you should glance in the mirror.

And likewise, at the conclusion of your very long March piece on BU, you end thusly:

“People are very loath to change their minds, once they have come to a conclusion, however misinformed, however mistaken. That is another lesson of these events. People cling to their simplistic understandings, their incorrect theories; they fight to defend their mistakes; they refuse to see the truth when it is pointed out to them.”

Again, as with many of the assertions you apparently make in your classes, and in your blog, one could readily nod in assent, but only if they seemed also to apply to you – things about honesty, integrity and so on.  But in light of what you have done with Mark’s things, and in other instances, these things all ring hollow – a great rhetorical fog which, like our classic American tale of Elmer Gantry, seems to serve to cover up unhappy truths and overt lies.  In light of your actions, your words appear to 100% pure hypocrisy.

I don’t happen to read books of the kind you write, so I don’t know if in your work on Cassavetes , or others, you quote him or others, but if you do, I imagine I would find myself taking any such with a rather large boulder of salt.  Just as I take your claims of friendship with him with skepticism.  [There are some in his retinue who apparently assert you were deemed a twerp and pest.]  Indeed while you are very loud about your academic record I find your behavior suggests instead someone who is very insecure, who must trumpet his place in the world in case someone just doesn’t get it.  Like your entire resume tacked on the end of each letter or email.

So, despite these things, and despite my pessimism that it will beget a positive response, I will, one last time, ask that you return Mark’s materials to him. It would be, even at this belated date, the best thing to do – for him and for you.   If you don’t, well, I guess you’ll figure you “won,” whatever that might mean to you.

And I will in turn try to help raise the funds for Mark’s work to be transferred to 2K digital form so it can be seen and appreciated as you claim it should be.

Sincerely not your friend,


dblcarneyProfessor Raymond Carney, Boston University

Anyone wishing to help in raising the funds required to transfer Mark Rappaport’s films to 2K, so they can be screened and streamed so that people might see them, please contact me at

Rappaport's materials in Carney's lawyer's office.

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atlantide announcement 150dpi

The Ray Carney-Mark Rappaport saga carries on.  Following the attempted mediation by several of Carney’s sympathetic former students, who spoke with Professor Carney regarding this, with some false hopes of a resolution which went apparently nowhere, the situation today remains as it was:  Carney remains incommunicado, in possession of Mark’s materials, and thus far has suffered no consequences from Boston University owing to his behavior, which includes, transparently, as seen in the items shown below,  previously published, perjury in a legal setting, not to mention a seemingly endless series of falsehoods and lies regarding what he has, what he has done, and so on.   While stating he has emails which show Rappaport having “gifted” him these materials, bizarrely claiming “the high ground” and moral rectitude, Carney has never produced these emails.

Recently Mark sent me a kind of announcement/letter on the matter.  I print it here.


To those who’ve come to this story late, let me bring you up to speed. In 2005, when I moved to Paris, Ray Carney, tenured professor at Boston University, eagerly offered to take digital videos and extra prints of my movies and keep them for me at Boston University until the time I would need them back. He now claims they were “a gift” to him, given to him forever and ever—although I can’t imagine for what reason I or anyone else would do that—but that’s his story. He refuses to return the films I wrote, directed, edited, and produced, films which he had nothing whatever to do with, which he does not have the rights to, and can’t do anything with, and claims they’re now his. His actions, which I’ve made public, for some reason that I don’t understand, now seem to focus not on his atrocious behavior but on how much money he spent taking “care” of these objects. For some reason that I also don’t get, no reporter has ever held his feet to the fire regarding various improvised figures he says he spent or the inventive strategies that he keeps coming up with—different ones for each interview—and lets him get away with these fantasy figures and fabrications he keeps throwing out there.

Here are his feet. Here’s the fire.

1. So far, no reporter has questioned him (isn’t that what they’re supposed to do?) on these sworn, perjurious statements regarding the inventory of items I entrusted to him. These statements were made under oath.

This one from July 13, 2012

carney doc pt 1carney docpt2

 Then there’s this sworn statement from August  27, 2012

carney docpt3

Now, really! Would you buy a used car from this guy? After this shabby performance, would you believe anything he said? Ever? And if you were a reporter, why wouldn’t you pursue this in an interview?

As for the “careful visual inspection by a trained inspector” (Carney himself, I presume), you don’t inspect a digital master or any other video by eye. You have to play it on a very expensive lab-quality, studio-quality machine that Carney doesn’t have access to.

2) Carney makes himself available, through a friend of his, for an interview in Artinfo

 in which he claims he was willing to return my materials to me but he needed $27,000 to send the stuff to me in France!. I never wanted or asked him to send the stuff  to me in France. I had given him my credit card number so he could FedEx it to a friend in NY on my account and, then, much later told him to deposit the stuff at my lawyer’s office in Boston, the same city where Carney teaches. So, it seems he did not need the $27,000 he asked for shipping costs, after all. He just thought it might be a good idea to have $27,000.

He has still not returned my stuff to me.

3) In an interview with the Boston Globe,

he claims to have spent $40,000 (!!!!!) “restoring and preserving” my materials. First of all, you don’t restore videos. Nor do you restore films. You can clean films, you can remove scratches— and that’s very cheap— but you don’t “restore” them. You restore negatives, Mr. Carney. Secondly, how much does a tenured professor make? $100,000 a year? $125,000 a year, before taxes? $40,000 of his own money???? $14,000 more than is the average annual income of most Americans??? If you believe that someone would spend that kind of money “restoring and preserving” materials by, in his own words, an “obscure” filmmaker, who gave him “trash,”

there’s a bridge I’d like to sell you real cheap. He says in his deposition, the one in which he perjured himself, that he has a special place where he keeps many other such “gifts.” In other words, whatever Taj Mahal he claims to have built for me alone, had been already built. Not that I believe that story, either. And assuming he did spend some money building a garage where he also keeps films, what does that have to do with me? You let a friend stay at your house for a few months. He does major renovations and then stiffs you with the bill for renovations you never asked for. Are you responsible for that?

3) While being interviewed for Indiewire

Carney lets on that he would return my stuff to me for $10,000 to cover his legal expenses. This time it’s not $27,000 or $40,000 but a more modest $10,000. I think it’s sort of unethical to use an interviewer as a go-between—maybe that’s just me— but Carney, even though he talks about ethics with a capital “E” ad nauseum, doesn’t let them get in the way of his own actions. He floated it past the interviewer in order to make himself look like a very reasonable, accommodating guy. The interviewer bought it hook, line and sinker. When I responded, through the interviewer, that I would pay him $7,000, which was my final counter-offer when he initially demanded $27,000 in ransom money for returning my work to me, the owner and creator, Carney called the offer “just another veiled (or not-so-veiled) set of threats.” HUH? Do I not speak English as well as I think I do? What is the threat here, “veiled or not-so-veiled”???? In other words, saying he would return my work for $10,000 was just a public relations ploy, to make himself look good. He floated a trial balloon, for publication only, that he wasn’t in the least bit serious about acting on.

4) through 84) Despite Carney’s endless blather about “restoring” and “preserving” that which cannot be either restored or preserved, when I asked him for video masters of several of my films in 2010, this is what he wrote

January 21, 2010

Rest assured that I will do ANY AND EVERYTHING to help you. And no money necessary (except for shipping)!!! DON’T WORRY!

(Capital letters and exclamation points his, not mine.)

January 30, 2010

Again my apologies. I was out of town for about a week and only received your message about a week ago….. and I’ve been totally crazy busy every day of the week I’ve been back (publishing crises, what else is new?), but I did retreive all of the stuff, brought it home, and have it here now, and shall go through it today (Sat) or tomorrow (Sunday) and locate Postcards and Garfield, assuming they are in the stuff you sent, which I have no reason to doubt… As soon as I paw through the boxes, I can mail the two things to you.+

And this from February 1, 2010

You almost stumped the stars today, the stars of fate, I mean; but I think I came up with everything you need. I done me darnedest! Some of those suckers sure were hiding from me underneath stacks of VHS tapes or other rubble! Here’s what I came up with. In every case, it was the best I could do. I looked hard and long! Went though the material twice in fact! You’re lucky I’m giving you a steep discount on my usual hourly rate!!! (Zero dollars an hour just for you, my friend!)

I always looked for a Beta SP Master in NTSC and (even though you didn’t say to do it), just in case, tried to find a BetaSP PAL version of the same thing if it was there, which I am also including in each case I could find one.


In other words, he had not even opened the boxes, did not know what was in them, and even subtly suggests that the things I ask him for might not be there. They were all there. In fact, the boxes had not been opened  5 years after he got the materials. When he was, in August 2012, forced to deliver a complete inventory to the courts, after he swore that he gave away and/or destroyed much of my material, he goes through the materials FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER and—guess what?—it’s all there, everything I itemized. How do I know that it’s the very first time ever (well, second time—he rummaged around in the boxes in 2010 to give me back films I asked for)? In a email dated August 27, 2012 he writes that he was

 spending something like forty or fifty hours doing this inventory to fulfill the court order.

In other words, he never knew what was in those boxes which contained all the materials that he so carefully “restored and preserved.” I would also question the “40 or 50 hours,” but that’s the standard Carney hyperbole, suggesting how difficult everything is and how manfully he overcomes every obstacle.

85) through 100) And here’s the real kicker, the photo of the materials which the court demanded he place in his lawyer’s office.

 Rappaport's materials in Carney's lawyer's office.

I know those boxes. The Samsung box on the left was the box that the DVD player I bought came in. The box underneath it is the box my Sony DVD player came in (to replace the Samsung player which died exactly after the warranty expired). In short, these items that he so preciously cared for, restored and preserved, built a special palace for, even though he hadn’t the vaguest idea what was in the boxes, and is hanging onto with such tenacity, were in the same darn boxes I sent him seven years earlier. Now, I ask you—can anyone believe a single word this man says? Does he ever tell the truth? And why, you ask, does the university he works for permit him to get away with these whoppers? Isn’t he, as a tenured professor, also a representative of the school’s integrity?  Don’t they have an ethics code that has been repeatedly violated? But I guess that doesn’t apply to tenured professors, only to poorly paid, non-tenured adjuncts, lecturers, and janitors.

You have to wonder what the upside is for Carney, holding onto this material. He didn’t make my films, he doesn’t have the rights to them, he doesn’t even know the formats the digital masters are on, and even if he did, he doesn’t have the equipment to use them. At this point, I suspect that he doesn’t even want the materials and, if those unopened boxes are any indication, never did. They’ve been nothing but a burden to him and haven’t done his reputation any good, either. The longer this continues, the more his reputation is damaged. All he has to do is give everything back. But he won’t give them up. Because he has them and I don’t. Go figure! He keeps whining incessantly that it was “a gift” and he has a right to hang on ferociously to a gift he has no use for—“a gift” that he himself describes as “trash” by an “obscure filmmaker.”

Maybe my films will be digitized from the original negatives two years from now. Or three or four. It may take even longer than that. It may not happen until after I’m dead. America, after all, is not very sentimental about its living artists but gets very misty-eyed about dead ones. Carney, however, will have to live the rest of his life with the consequences of his actions. I don’t envy him. Even if everyone else thinks he’s wrong, he pretends not to care because, to paraphrase the Barry Goldwater campaign in 1964, in his heart he knows he’s right. So be it. His obit, assuming he warrants one, will not start off with “Inspirational Teacher, John Cassavetes Scholar,” the way it was meant to. I suspect it will read like “Ray Carney, The Man Who Walked off with the Bulk of Mark Rappaport’s Life’s Work.” I would write, if it were up to me, something a little more colorful—like “The Man Who Casually, Cavalierly, and Maliciously Hi-jacked a Major Portion of Rappaport’s Work Out of Narcissistic Spite.”

But you don’t have to worry about it, Mr. Carney. In your heart you know you’re right. Sweet dreams.

reflected 1

At risk of a kind of over-kill, I asked Mark to send me the actual legal documents listing those items which Professor Carney holds, and I print below Rappaport’s initial claim, itemizing those things which he had shipped to Carney (and which, under penalty of perjury in his deposition for the court Carney claimed not to have).  Juxtaposing Carney’s sworn statement below, to his sworn statement above, made in a legal context, Professor Ray Carney, Ph.D, tenured at Boston University, is a self-convicted perjurer.  In light of his constantly shuffled statements regarding this case – the numbers, the money, the reasons  – along with his pious claims of virtue, Professor Carney shows himself to also be that classical American archetype, the Jimmy Swaggart sort of preacher snared in sin while exhorting others to virtue (and raking in money for it):  a con man.  That a man of this dubious moral and ethical example is left to teach raises questions exactly of the kind he has charged to Boston University about a form of corruption.   Had Professor Carney a modicum of honesty within himself, he’d return Rappaport’s materials with an apology, resign his teaching position, and seek out the psychiatric help he so clearly needs.  However, I wouldn’t make any bets on his doing so.

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carney etc2

triple mark

In the last week a number of things have happened regarding, as Mr. Carney has chosen to call it, “L’Affair Rappaport.”  What has happened is that Mr. Carney has finally come out from behind his veil of silence, and spilled his verbose self onto a new blog of his own making, Inside Boston University.  Here, in his inevitably obsessive and long-winded manner, he excoriates BU, and Mark Rappaport (and in a quasi-aside, myself).  In doing so, he repeatedly pulls the rug out from underneath himself and his myriad and repetitive arguments.  While I can’t in any way prove it, it would appear that this exercise in self-revelation on his part has been elicited by the very public exposure on the internet of his actions of which he complains, and the subsequent pressures applied by Boston University.  Without these it is easy to imagine that he would have sat tight, figuring Mark’s original internet letter would rapidly disappear in the endless chatter of the net and life.  His veil would work. However, that isn’t what happened, as his loud lament about being “cyber-bullied” makes clear.  Instead, his actions and behavior have been revealed, and his employer, Boston University, has in turn also been pressed to deal with the matter, and has brought his behavior under examination within the institution.

In his self-published letter – all 12,000 words of it – Mr. Carney repeatedly contradicts himself, and, in plain spoken English, lies.

In his first deposition, dated July 12, 2012, this is the story which Mr. Carney tells, to a court, for a legal deposition:

carney affidavit #1x

On August 27, 2012, to the same court, this is the story Mr. Carney tells, about the same material:

carney affidavit number 1

In his self-published blog posting of March 13, 2013, Mr. Carney goes to great lengths to describe the difficulty of his searching for, cataloguing, “archiving” and restoring the materials he claims were “gifted” to him by Mark Rappaport.   Here is a picture of those materials, taken in Carney’s lawyer’s office.

Rappaport's materials in Carney's lawyer's office.

For those unfamiliar with such things, the stack to the left has 3 16mm reels, one in a can which holds a 1,200 foot reel; the two standard fiber boxes appear to contain reels of 800 feet.   The boxes below these might contain papers or perhaps magnetic sound recording tape, probably perforated for mixing.   The stack in the middle has another single reel fiber container for what would appear to be a 1,200 foot single reel, and below it is another fiber case, likely for two 2000 foot reels – a print of a feature-length film.  The three more modern tan plastic cases below it would contain double reels of 16mm film, again features.  The white container has half or 3/4 inch video tape, transfers of Rappaport’s films from 16mm to tape.  You should now be able to figure out what’s in the final stack: some more 16mm reels, a video tape, and another box of either papers or tape.  The entire assortment, arranged slightly differently, would fit in a size 2 x 2 x 2 feet:  8 cubic feet, or something that could readily fit in a rather small closet.

Rappaport’s view from seeing this photo, and from what Mr. Carney has written in these affidavits, is that Carney had never even opened the boxes, and hence had not “catalogued” them until required by the court.   The boxes are the same that the material was sent in.   Mr. Carney’s description of the “chaotic mess” etc. is belied by the evidence; his story of having discarded materials, given some away was belied by the itemized list he finally presented which included everything Rappaport had sent to him for safe-keeping.    For his alleged services in storing, archiving, cataloging and “restoring” these items, Mr. Carney requested a payment of 27 thousand dollars as his price to return Rappaport’s property.


In ordinary English Mr Carney has convicted himself of lying in these two documents; in legal language, as noted above, he has committed PERJURY.  In the context of the American legal system and the context of these depositions, Mr. Carney committed a CRIME.

The nature of this forcefully suggests that Mr. Carney’s cavalier attitude with “the facts” is normal in his life, and that little or nothing that comes out of his mouth can be trusted to be “true.”    In his lectures and his writings on his BU blog, Mr. Carney natters often and at length about honesty, integrity, and such things.    In his letter, while he loudly complains about the lax standards of contemporary journalists, he states, regarding myself, numerous utterly untrue things.  He claims I was married to Teresa Villaverde, the mother of my daughter, Clara Villaverde Cabral Jost.  We were not married.  Hence, also contrary to his claims, we were not divorced.  Clara was kidnapped by Villaverde, from her home in Italy, in violation of Italian law (which legal authorities demanded her return under the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction, which law Teresa Villaverde had also violated).  Mr. Carney seems to think that speaking in public of these things, and attempting to secure my daughter’s safety, and Portugal’s compliance with the law, is something amiss.  Mr. Carney’s version of my view on 9/11 is similarly askew:  I at no time have said or written that there were no “terrorists” involved in 9/11; what I did write is that there is rather convincing evidence that figures in the Bush administration knew the attack was coming and allowed it, to use for their own purposes.  See the PNAC document, along with much other evidence regarding this event.  I am far from alone in having profound doubts about the official story of 9/11.  Disingenuously, Mr. Carney, who used me to post his diatribe on BU, and in process wrote me admiring emails, citing my willingness to speak out in public as a virtue, now inverts this and resorts to ad hominem attacks sourced in his own very false “information.”


Mr. Carney, in his behavior towards Mark Rappaport, and in his false statements, above, and in his ever-so-lengthy posting, has done little but discredit himself, and destroy whatever reputation he once had.  In my view he has utterly disqualified himself as a person who should be teaching in a supposedly first rank university, much less a lowly community college: he is a hypocrite of the first order, and offers no example for impressionable young students.   Were he a person of the least character he would resign his teaching post; and were he a person of inward intelligence, he would seek medical help for the psychological monsters which control him.


On a more pleasant note, I’d like to pass along word that Mark Rappaport’s book, The Movie Goer Who Knew Too Much is available from Amazon. Here’s what Jonathan Rosenbaum wrote about it:

“On the flyleaf of my copy, Mark wrote, “Maybe next year en anglais.” Five years later, that dream is fulfilled, and those who’ve been able to sample this wonderful book in magazines like Film Quarterly and online locations such as Rouge can now have access to all of it.”— Jonathan Rosenbaum

And a few other views:

” And Art is proof of Bishop Berkeley’s dictum, that to be is to be perceived. The vast crews responsible for the creation of a film, from director to assistant’s assistant, need, in order for their creation of shadows to exist, the eye of the beholder. Mark Rappaport’s extraordinary gift is not only that he is able to see creatively, to bring critically into being what he sees, but to be able to put this vision into words, so that we too, on the other side of the page, can perceive what he, on this side of the screen, has so keenly perceived. The ancients knew that we require guides when venturing into the realm of shadows. Mark Rappaport is one of these rare enlightened and enlightening spirits.”
—Alberto Manguel
“Mark Rappaport has created a new and very personal form of film criticism in which fiction is a driving force. The world of cinema becomes a place of constant permutations and improbable encounters: Marcel Proust’s path crosses Alain Resnais’ in Marienbad; the actor in Eisenstein’s Ivan the Terrible and the star of von Sternberg’s The Scarlet Empress, Marlene Dietrich, become lovers during the filming of Ivan at the studio. Cinema itself undergoes a metamorphosis and is re-born in these imaginative essays. These essays, some originally published in the film journal, Trafic, are not merely a collection but are actually a book.”
—Raymond Bellour
rappaport book cover

After 8 months of silence, Professor Ray Carney has finally emerged with his version of his relationship with Mark Rappaport, it would appear owing to the pressure of public exposure.  I print in its entirety his comments.   At a later time I will add comments.  Meantime there is a discussion at MUBI.

Mr Carney is not a practitioner of brevity, unfortunately.


Professor Carney:

Thursday, March 14, 2013

L’Affaire Rappaport: A case study in faculty treatment at Boston University


My recent experience with Mark Rappaport can summarize the treatment of faculty members in the College of Communication at Boston University. There are also a few lessons that may be of interest to anyone subject to cyber-bullying. I wrote the following essay for my 2012 annual report submitted to the university, but share it with my readers for what it is worth. There are several different lessons here. — Ray Carney
Resisting Blackmail and
Standing up for Principles at Boston University
Ray Carney
Boston University
I am a film professor. Eight years ago, an obscure independent filmmaker named Mark Rappaport contacted me and offered me a pile of miscellaneous films and other stuff that he said he intended to throw away. He had sold his New York apartment, was moving to Paris, and had decided that it was economically and logistically out of the question to take the raw materials of his filmmaking career (dozens of 8mm and 16mm film reels, magnetic tapes, and box after box of scripts and other printed materials) with him abroad. He said he had donated the “first copies” (the best copies) of his work to the Museum of Modern Art and to a few other places, and didn’t know what to do with the boxes of extra material that were left over. Since he knew I had a scholarly interest in his work (I am arguably the world’s expert on his films), had written a lot about it (I was, at that point, writing a book about his work), and, in fact, already had a substantial collection of material by and about him (films, tapes, and documents) that I had collected at my own expense over a period of years, he asked if I would be interested in having whatever was left over after his museum donations were complete. I was actually reluctant to take some of the material he was offering me at first, since films (remember almost all of this material was not DVDs or videotapes, but actual reels of film and magnetic tape stored in big, heavy containers) are not only bulky, but fragile, and need to be stored carefully at a proper temperature and humidity. He persuaded me by telling me that it was me “or the trash man,” and reassured me that I had absolutely no obligations to him after he sent the stuff to me. It was a no-strings-attached, unconditional gift, and I could do anything I wanted with what he was sending. If I wanted to give it away, to sell or rent it to other people to be screened, or even to wear it out by using it, it was fine with him, since anything I did with it would be better than him simply throwing it in the dumpster. That was, as I say, 8 years ago, in early 2005.
When the material arrived, it was dirty, disorganized, and beat-up, just the way you’d expect material destined for the trash to be; unlabeled, unsorted tapes, disks, and films had been thrown hither and yon with crumpled newspaper sheets as the only packing material, and sent to me (with me paying the shipping costs) in flimsy cardboard boxes. Since the commercial value was more or less zero, none of the shipments was insured, and the boxes generally arrived at my end half- (or more than half-) crushed. It was a complete mess, and I could have tossed it all out then and there; but I just couldn’t bear to throw it away.
I made a fateful decision. I decided to do something that probably only a film professor would be idealistic—or dumb!—enough to do. Over the next few years, I spent tens of thousands of dollars of my own money cleaning and repairing the beat-up old films and constructing a proper space to store them in. In 2007 I posted a statement on my Boston University web site stating what I had done (and was continuing to do). I talked about how I had created my own personal film archive out of Rappaport’s cast-offs. Rappaport himself was fully aware of the web site posting, which was based on email exchanges with him, and he quoted from it on many different occasions. He made jokes about my archive looking like the one in Citizen Kane (which he and I knew of course it didn’t) and compared me to the gargoyle spinster who presided over Kane’s trash heap. At several other points, we had email exchanges where he repeated in writing what he had told me in our initial conversations: that I was free to do anything I chose with the material I had: to rent it out to others; to use it in my classes; to screen it any place I wanted to; etc.. That’s why the web site posting could say the things it did, and why he never once objected to it. [See Appendix A at the end of this posting.]
Five more years go by. It’s now the summer of 2012. I’m out of state at a place I go every summer to write. I’m working on a big book and have deliberately cut myself off from the outside world: no internet connection, no email, no portable devices, no cell phone, no nothing. In early July I get a packet forwarded to me from a lawyer who says he represents Rappaport, saying there is a legal action against me, demanding the immediate return of everything he gave me, arguing that I had only been temporarily storing it for him for an unspecified period of time (eight years?) and had agreed to return it to him when he asked for it. Of course, no documentation of these alleged “agreements” is provided (or will ever be provided), since none exists. The letter not only demands that everything I have be sent back immediately, but—to add injury to insult—bills me something like nine thousand dollars in fees to pay the lawyer for filing the legal papers against me and for writing the letter I am reading! I go to the library in a neighboring town to access my unchecked email account and come across a series of emails from Rappaport from six weeks or so before where he tells a completely different story than the lawyer’s letter did. He says he met someone else he’d rather give the discarded material to. He says he has changed his mind about his gift and asks if he can have it back from me. (Not hard to understand since I’ve now sorted and cleaned and restored his material at my own expense.)
Let me summarize: There was no question that I owned the material free and clear. There was no question that it had been a gift almost eight years before. There was no question that I had put tens of thousands of dollars of my own money into maintaining and preserving it. There was no question that Rappaport knew all of this. It was in the emails we exchanged. It was in the notes he included in the boxes he sent. It was posted on my web site. There had been no misunderstanding. There was no change in the basic understanding. All that had changed was that he had had “giver’s regret” seven and a half years after he had given me the gift and I had put all the money into it. He had decided he wanted to do something else with the material and was willing to go to any lengths to force me (unlawfully, unethically) to return it to him—to lie, to hire a lawyer to threaten me, to do all of the other things he subsequently did.
Here’s a useful comparison: Imagine that someone you distantly knew told you he was moving to Europe and asked if you wanted an old, beat-up car he had that he obviously couldn’t take it with him. He told you he had given his fancy cars to auto museums, but no one wanted the junker. Did you want it? It was a beat-up mess and you were reluctant to take it, but once you got it, rather than having it towed to the junkyard, you were inspired to restore it. So you built a garage to store it in and work on it, and spent tens of thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of your time cleaning it up, fixing it up, and restoring it. Almost eight years go by and you keep working on it. It’s not a jalopy anymore. It’s cleaned up. It’s shined up. It now purrs like a kitten. Thanks strictly to you, since it wouldn’t have been around at that point if you hadn’t taken it. You tell the person who gave it to you about your work, how you’ve put all this time and money into his present. He decides he regrets giving it to you. It’s years and years later but he decides he wants it back, even though he doesn’t own it anymore. So he goes to a lawyer and claims you stole it from him, files court papers to scare and intimidate you, and (on top of everything else) sends you a bill demanding you pay his lawyer’s costs to get the car back from you. Well, that’s a fair illustration of what happened in this situation.
Note that this is not a “he said/she said” situation. It is not about a misunderstanding. The explicitly gifted nature of the material is documented clearly and definitely, in black and white. I have dozens of pages of emails documenting every step of the process, in which Rappaport makes jokes about his present and how I have saved it from the garbage. I make a web site posting describing my creation of the storage space and my preservation efforts for everyone to read. Rappaport knows all about it back then and knows about it now. But he changes his mind. And once he does that, since he knows he cannot succeed if he tells the truth, if he says that he has simply changed his mind now that the material has been restored, he lies and misrepresents what took place. And there is nothing, not one sentence or shred of documentation, to support his version of the story.
The story does not even pass the common-sense test. Why in the world would I be storing and preserving films for him for return to him? Why me? I’m not a film archivist or preservationist—or at least I wasn’t at the point he contacted me! Why would I agree to such an expensive and time-consuming project? Where was I supposed to be storing the films, since I didn’t have a space and eventually had to build it? Where is any payment or compensation for doing this? Where is the reimbursement for my expenses and time and trouble I would obviously be putting into the project? What are the terms of our agreement that I would do this for him, and where is there any stipulation of the required preservation conditions? Was I, a non-preservationist, just being “trusted” to know how to take care of the stuff in the right way? How could Rappaport possibly send me films he expected back at a future date without keeping an inventory of what he had sent? The list of material he supplied to his lawyer was clearly written years later, based on his distant memory of what he had sent so many years before, and is full of errors. Why in the world would I agree to spend thousands of dollars of my own money to preserve and restore these films? What was in it for me? Why would none of this be mentioned in an email or letter from him to me, or from me to him up to the point he suddenly decided (and explicitly tells me in a series of emails) that he has changed his mind—after I have been taking care of the stuff and spending money on it for seven and a half years? And of course, why would there be all the statements to the exact contrary in the emails and notes in the boxes about what I should show to my students in class, what I should show myself, and how I was free to rent or otherwise dispose of the work.
It’s not my idea of the most fun way to spend my summer, but now I of course have to get my own lawyer. I told him the facts: First, that the material had been a present of stuff destined for the trash; second, that Rappaport had told me I was free to do anything I wanted with it, even destroy it if I chose; and finally, that I had spent a heck of a lot of money, time, and effort restoring and storing it in the interim. He relayed the information to Rappaport’s lawyer. The only reply was, in effect, that Rappaport would see me in court—and had filed papers to have me arrested by the sheriff and put in jail if I didn’t immediately turn everything over to him and pay his lawyer’s bill to boot! After I showed my lawyer the documentation of the gift (dozens of emails to me along with handwritten notes from Rappaport that he included in the boxes he sent), he told me that Rappaport didn’t have a leg to stand on legally, since as he put it: “changing your mind is not valid grounds for seizing a gift.” In other words, it would be an easy case to win, no sweat. But even at that point, and against the explicit wishes of my lawyer, I wanted to try to be accommodating; I wanted to do a good deed, even if it wasn’t necessary; so I wrote Rappaport and told him that if he would simply pay part of what I had spent restoring and storing the material for the past seven and a half years, I’d send everything back to him at my own expense with no hard feelings. I was willing to lose something like twenty thousand dollars in the exchange; but I’m not a rich man and I have to admit that I just couldn’t afford to do it for nothing. I needed to recoup part of my costs—especially now, given the cost of the legal bills I was incurring. If I can say it of myself, I thought I was being extremely generous. I was willing to take a financial bath to be a good guy and help Rappaport out. He rejected the offer, and (though I have to admit that the logic eludes me) added my email offering to send him the stuff back to the court documents as (apparently) adding proof that I was guilty of stealing his films. [See Appendix B at the end of this posting.]
As things developed, a few weeks later he suddenly dropped the suit, since he (or his lawyer) undoubtedly realized that he didn’t have a legal leg to stand on. The material was clearly my property. It had been given it to me; I had extensive written confirmation of the gifted nature of the material; and I had provably cared for it for almost eight years and put a lot of money into preserving and restoring it. I had tons of paperwork to prove my ownership and the gift of it to me, while Rappaport had absolutely nothing to support his bizarre claim that I had, in effect, stolen his films from him. (For what it’s worth, Rappaport later posted on the internet that he dropped his suit only because he couldn’t afford to continue it; but that’s patently false since, as I have noted, up to that point, I was the one expected to pay his costs if he won. In other words, it would have cost him nothing to continue if he really thought he was in the right and could win. The real reason he dropped the suit was that he knew that his claim was false—and legally indefensible.)
* * *
At the time I thought that was that—that it was all over at that point. But it’s actually the date when the real horrors began. I used to think of cyber-bullying as something that takes place between middle-school fifteen-year-olds. Now I know we’re all vulnerable. Welcome to the internet, the place where anybody can say anything about anybody else, with no proof, no documentation, no evidence. Rappaport enlisted a filmmaker friend of his named Jon Jost to post pages of lies and misrepresentations about what had taken place between Rappaport and me, and he simultaneously wrote me a series of emails telling me that he was going to do everything in his power to embarrass and humiliate me for not having jumped through his hoops.
If you ask who would make a web site available for such purposes, and would actually post such a pack of lies without checking the facts, the answer is that Jost has done this sort of thing many other times, in a whole series of other situations. He’s used the internet to endorse dozens of nutty conspiracy theories—ranging from “There were no terrorists; the George Bush White House rigged explosives and blew up the World Trade Center themselves” theory of what took place on 9/11, to paranoid fantasies about how the U.S. government is abducting its own citizens who speak out against it and throwing them in foreign jails. And I am far from being the first victim of his cyber-attacks. There are many others before me. A few years ago, in fact, Jost even conducted a massive internet smear campaign against his former wife when their divorce or custody settlement apparently didn’t turn out the way he wanted it to. So posting Rappaport’s science-fiction was nothing out of the ordinary for him.
To tell the truth, I didn’t attach any importance to the postings when they first went up. I assumed that their absurdity would be obvious. I assumed that people would see that where there were pages of accusations and not a single sentence of real evidence, everyone would realize that the accusations were made-up. Then Jost circulated an internet petition against me. Again, I thought who would take something like that seriously? By definition, no one who signed the petition had any first-hand knowledge of what had really happened. I thought that any intelligent person understood the utter worthlessness of internet petitions, and the complete meaningless of the numbers of signatures on them, since there were no controls on how many times any one individual could “sign” and comment under a different alias. On any given day, there are ten thousand similar nutty petitions being circulated on the internet and getting not thousands, but tens and hundreds of thousands of signatures about everything from the Kennedy assassination, to Elvis sightings, to aliens in Area 51. Since I assumed anyone with a brain was familiar with Jost’s previous crank postings, and his admitted bias in this situation, about which he didn’t even make a show of being neutral or objective, I didn’t really take any of it seriously, didn’t think very much about it, and didn’t reply. I have much better things to do with my time than swat flies. Let them swarm, let them buzz, let anyone sign Jost’s petition and write something stupid about me as many times as they want. I really don’t care.
But I should add for the record that it would have been impossible for me to reply, even if I had wanted to. I used to have an official faculty web site on the Boston University server—all BU faculty members are given space to create one—but university administrators shut it down four or five years ago when they disagreed with something I wrote about education. (BU administrators are not known for their toleration of independent thinking on the faculty; the Silber days are still very much alive, and I’m pretty close to being the current incarnation of Howard Zinn in that comparison.) So that meant that I couldn’t use my faculty site to post a reply. And I couldn’t use Jost’s site either, since when he launched his cyber-bullying campaign, he wrote me a series of emails telling me that the only allowable response he would accept from me and agree to post on his site would be: A) for me to apologize for my misconduct; and B) for me to announce that I was immediately turning over all of the material I owned to Rappaport. That of course meant that I was not allowed to reply on his site. Jost didn’t reveal that to his site readers, of course. That way he could then announce, as he subsequently did, that my non-response “proved” I was guilty. Pretty clever, I have to admit. He runs the site and controls everything that is posted on it, so he can impose conditions on what I have to say and do to be allowed on it, and when I don’t accede to the conditions, he can say that it shows I am afraid to respond.
I wish that was the end of the story, but sometime in September, probably because Jost and Rappaport were not getting much of a result with the embarrassment tactic, they added a twist to the cyber-bullying that middle school punks aren’t usually able to employ: Blackmail. Extortion. I got a series of phone calls and emails from Rappaport and Jost making threats that they would get me fired from my job, have my tenure revoked, go to my Dean and Chairman and tell a pack of lies about me to get me in trouble at Boston University, blanket the internet with anti-Carney statements, and do other things to destroy my job and career, if I didn’t immediately turn over the films I owned to Rappaport’s lawyer. The threats were very explicit and they did not mince words in making them. They were crystal clear: Turn the stuff over, or we’ll destroy you. It was your basic blackmail plot, pure and simple. (Since Rappaport explicitly cites his lawyer as the designated recipient of the material, it would be natural to assume that he was part of the blackmail plot; but I prefer to believe that he was an innocent victim, just as I was, and that Rappaport included him as a participant and named his office as the place where I was to leave the material, without his knowl.edge or permission. For the lawyer’s sake, if he wants to continue practicing law, I sure hope that was the case.)
And, sure enough, when I didn’t respond to that, they did exactly what they had threatened to do. Jost and Rappaport emailed, phoned, and even sent someone to visit my Dean and Chairman in person—I’m told they wanted to have a meeting with the university President and Provost also but were unsuccessful—to try to get me fired, get my tenure revoked, or have me administratively and financially punished in other ways, if I didn’t immediately take the material to the lawyer’s office.
* * *
But, as the infomercials say, wait there’s more. When none of those tactics succeeded, Rappaport decided he would take things to a new level by contacting the press, saying bad things about me to journalists, and referring them to the internet postings. The extortion notes he wrote me morphed to include statements that he and Jost would enlist journalists in the smear campaign against me unless I immediately turned the material I owned over to his lawyer. He would use journalists and, based on the results, the journalists were glad to be used. Sometime around October or November, I began receiving emails from online and hard copy journalists informing me that Rappaport had written them and that they would be publishing articles about what I “had done.” Apparently all it takes to get an adverse story about someone into a newspaper, magazine, or online media outlet is for someone to make a series of groundless, unfounded, undocumented (and, let’s not forget, false) charges against the person. I would have thought that a journalist’s first response to anyone who wrote or called him and started saying terrible things about someone else, asking that the journalist do a story about the other person, would, first, be deep skepticism about the source’s motives (which are clearly not noble) and, second, a request for evidence that the charges had a clear factual basis: in this instance, that there was written documentation of the storage-return agreement. But I must be old-fashioned. That is clearly the old journalism. Things have changed. Standards have loosened. Where everyone is chasing readers in our era of declining media readership, skepticism has been replaced by delight at the chance to skewer someone, and documentation is no longer necessary. A story is a story, and driving eyes to the reporter’s by-line is the goal of the game.
Journalistically, I found myself in a “guilty until proven innocent” world, where I was effectively being asked, over and over again by different people, to prove “when I had stopped beating my wife.” The journalists who contacted me, to a person, began by accepting Rappaport’s accusations at face value, and told me they were going to print his charges—unless I successfully rebutted them. Of course I am talking only about the journalists who contacted me. Some never asked for my input, or went with a story before I had a chance to reply. Rappaport’s word was good enough for them to go forward.
The reason I can know with absolute certainty that none of the journalists, whether they contacted me or not, obtained probative documentation before deciding to write their stories is, of course, the fact that no such documentation exists. If they had begun, before deciding to write their stories, and before writing me, by asking Rappaport for substantive proof of his charges against me, the story would have died right there, since as I have noted, there is not a single sentence that he can produce that indicates that there was any agreement or understanding that the films were given to me for temporary storage, that I was supposed to return them to him at a future date, or that I had stolen them from him—and there is, of course, abundant documentation that establishes the exact opposite.
The burden of proof, according to traditional journalistic standards and practices, should clearly have been on the person making the charges, which meant that there should have been no story until there was strong and compelling evidence to support the charges. The only story that had that would have been one about cyber-bullying, extortion, and using the media to conduct a smear campaign—but the journalists weren’t interested in writing that story. The problem was that the journalists who contacted me clearly did not hold themselves accountable to traditional journalistic standards and practices. When I told several of them that I was too busy to be responding in detail to a series of ever-changing, ever-shifting undocumented, unfounded accusations—responding over and over again on separate occasions to a dozen or more separate journalistic inquiries, month after month—they replied that I had better reply—“or else” they would simply go with Rappaport’s side of the story. In other words, I would be presented in print as being guilty, unless I successfully demonstrated my innocence—to each and every one of them individually, one after the other. The situation was mine to lose, but only to lose. If I simply remained silent; if I reminded them that if Rappaport really had a valid grievance he could easily win in court and get a massive financial settlement against me (at no cost to himself, as I have noted); if I told them that I was too busy to respond to an unending stream of inquiries from different reporters; in short, if I didn’t successfully rebut every crazy, unsubstantiated charge Rappaport had made, from accusations of perjury to prevarication to theft, to the satisfaction of writers who clearly already had a bias since they were ready to print his version of the story in the first place—I would be tried, and fried, in the press, even if the charges were fictional, and no evidence that they were true had been provided by my accuser. Welcome to the new journalism. Welcome to the wacky world of La-Z-Boy “investigative” journalism, where the reporter is spared the arduousness of conducting a real investigation of the facts, and the burden of proof is on the victim of character assassination to defend himself. The person being accused is forced to do the research for the reporter, to provide documentation to prove his innocence. If the victim of the smear campaign does not successfully refute or, in my case, does not have the time to respond, point by point, to each of the scurrilous and false accusations, the journalist feels free to print the lies. Move over Woodward and Bernstein.
* * *
That leads to the fourth strand of the story, which is, if possible, even more depressing than the preceding ones. I can understand a lone individual telling a pack of lies to try to scare or browbeat me into giving in to his whims. I can understand a nutcase turning over his web site to post the lies and create an internet petition. I can understand a few hundred people writing a series of nasty comments under a series of aliases about something they have absolutely no first-hand knowledge of. I can understand someone who can’t succeed through established legal means, and obviously knows it, having recourse in desperation to threats and blackmail to try to get his way. It’s a bit harder to swallow, but I can understand young, inexperienced, or circulation-motived journalists with no conception of journalistic standards and ethics printing the falsehoods or putting the evidentiary burden on the person being slandered to rebut the lies. But the thing I still can’t get my head around is a university that countenances and acquiesces in such tactics. I’m talking about my university, Boston University, of course. [See Appendix C at the end of this posting for my initial response to BU, which my Chairman refused to accept as an adequate response.]
At a meeting with the Dean (Tom Fiedler), the Associate Dean (James Shanahan), my Chairman (Paul Schneider), and a Boston University lawyer (Erika Geetter), where I was asked to respond to Jost’s internet postings, I explained everything I’ve summarized above—Rappaport’s lies, Jost’s flexible sense of the truth, Jost and Rappaport’s cyber-bullying campaign against me, and Rappaport’s threats and extortion demands. I presented scores of pages of documentation of every detail. Page after page of emails documenting the explicitly gifted nature of the original material and the fact that it had been originally destined for the dumpster; page after page reprinting and explaining the lengthy posting on my web site where I explicitly described the material as a gift, and talked about my decision to preserve it rather than throw it away; page after page documenting the cyber-bullying campaign and the threats in the ransom notes about what would happen if I didn’t turn the material over to Rappaport’s lawyer; page after page documenting Jost’s refusal to allow me to post a reply on his web site; page after page documenting the threats and extortion notes—the “turn the material over or else we’ll destroy your reputation on the internet, in your university, and in the media” side of the situation.
I presented all of this material and sat there and allowed myself to be cross-examined about it for three-hours. I answered every question I was asked. I pleaded that the university not allow itself to be used as part of a bullying or extortion scheme. I said that a university should not give in to this sort of pressure. I reminded Dean Fiedler, Associate Dean Shanahan, Chairman Schneider, and Ms. Geetter that a university exists precisely not to cave in to unsubstantiated accusations, not to allow slanders, falsehoods, threats, and acts of extortion to succeed. I told the people sitting across the table from me that a university should stand above the hysteria of a lynch-mob petition posted on the internet by people who knew none of the facts, that a university should not knuckle under to a campaign in the media just because journalists did not adhere to professional standards of reporting. I told them that that’s what made a university different from a for-profit corporation—that a university defended principles and values and truth-telling, and did not cave in to pressure-tactics, to thuggery, to lunatic internet petitions. I told them that Boston University should not (and should not ask its faculty members to) “make pacts with the devil”—that it should not negotiate with blackmailers and extortionists (or pressure faculty to negotiate with them).
But, as I knew going into the meeting, I was talking about another university, one that had different values than the one I was part of, one that treated faculty members with respect and dignity and professionalism. I was talking about a university that defended intellectual values and truth. Boston University hasn’t done that for forty years, since before John Silber became President. The individuals sitting across the table from me were not interested in taking a stand against extortion threats or defending faculty rights. Heck, it was clear that they were hardly interested in listening to what I was telling them. I would describe our meeting as one of the most disrespectful meetings I have ever attended at BU, except for the fact that I have attended too many others that have been even more disrespectful. The Dean’s inquiry was conducted as a Star Chamber proceeding. The BU administrators had clearly come into the room with their minds already made up—unbelievably enough, on the basis of what they had read on the internet!—and loaded for bear. I was the bear.
The university’s response to the internet postings was not very different from the reaction of the journalists. I was presumed guilty until I could prove myself innocent. At the meeting I attended, I was hardly able to get out two successive sentences without being interrupted and argued with, because what I said was different from what they had read on the internet, or what Rappaport had (deceptively) told them in a series of emails or telephone conversations. They weren’t really interested in hearing the truth, or listening to me. The insinuations came fast and furious. I was a thief; I had represented myself as accepting Rappaport’s material as a deposit with Boston University but absconded with it for my own personal benefit; I had lied to Rappaport about (or deliberately concealed from him) where his work was stored; I was guilty of perjury in official court documents (an extraordinarily serious crime); I had misused the mail system for thievery; etc., etc.. I was called names. My character was attacked. I was ridiculed. I was even accused of being mentally ill. At one point, my Chairman launched into an insulting litany of accusations impugning my personal integrity, ranging from “Why do you work here? Why do you stay? Why don’t you quit?”—to asking me whether I was at BU “only for the money.” (He forgot to mention that if that was the reason I had made a serious miscalculation, since I had taken so many hits to my pay in the past eight or nine years, many of them personally recommended by him and my Dean.) Dean Fiedler, who chaired the meeting, sat there smiling throughout the worst of the accusations, name-calling, and mockery, never once intervening to moderate, reign it in, or apologize for it. The reason was obvious. He didn’t stop it because he had scripted it (delegating the worst of it to be conducted by his subordinates the Associate Dean and my Chairman), as was clearly visible from the common outline they all had on the table in front of them. The table was narrow and I could read it sitting across from them. They had planned it all out. That’s the kind of meeting my Dean organizes and chairs. That’s the way senior faculty are treated in my College.
Threats were made about altering my teaching schedule or outright cancelling my courses (“… if we allow you to teach…”), and changing my administrative duties (“because of the problems you have caused”)—and of course, a few days later, I received memos where the threats were followed through on. The documentation I presented provided iron-clad proof of the account I gave at the start of this piece—that the material was an explicit gift, that I owned it without any doubt or dispute, and that what had been posted on the internet was a pack of lies. I presented written evidence of the extortion attempt to force me unlawfully to turn the material over to Rappaport’s lawyer. But none of that mattered.
The problem was that none of the people on the other side of the table—the Dean, the Associate Dean, my Chairman, and the university lawyer—cared about truth and fairness. None of them cared who actually owned the material. None of them cared where the truth lay. None of them cared about right or wrong. And none of them cared in the least about defending intellectual values or the rights of a faculty member to resist a cyber-bullying and blackmail scheme. The validity of my position, the ethical nature of my conduct from start to finish, was beyond dispute, but it didn’t matter. That was obvious from their response to what I said. Every time I raised these sorts of issues, they changed the subject. There was no discussion of how to take a principled stand, how to defend the integrity of a faculty member, how to avoid caving in to pressure and mob hysteria. Not a word, beyond my own.
What mattered, the BU administrators were not at all shy about telling me, were the PR implications for BU. How would what Rappaport and Jost had posted on the internet affect Boston University’s reputation, its recruiting, its enrollments? They didn’t care in the least about protecting a faculty member from slander and falsehood; but cared, intensely, how the Boston Globe would report the story, and what other media outlets would say. They told me that if I defended my ownership of the material, it could make the university look bad. They told me that they wanted me to find a way to let Rappaport have the material. (There was no mention of reimbursing me for all the money I had spent preserving it, of course, no mention of releasing a statement condemning bullying and blackmail, no mention of having the university PR department defend the reputation of a senior faculty member.) Right up to the present there has been no press release from the university defending my integrity, and no statement from my Dean, my Chairman, or another administrator condemning blackmail and cyber-bullying. Defending a faculty member’s rights, resisting an orchestrated campaign of falsehood, slander, insinuation, and innuendo, taking a principled stand against cyber-bullying and acts of extortion—things I all but begged them to do—were never mentioned by anyone other than me. Every administrator or officer at that meeting greeted my request that he, she, or the university take a principled stand with silence.
I can’t say I was surprised. The chairman of the meeting, Dean Fiedler, like many other Boston University administrators, does not have an academic background. He spent his entire previous career working his way up the corporate ladder, and to make things worse, he himself used to be one of those tabloid-style investigative journalists. One of his biggest, and to this day one of his proudest journalistic accomplishments involved staking-out and spying-on a big-name politician and stalking and tracking his girlfriend to a private residence over a weekend and forcing the politician to drop out of a presidential race by running a front-page story about the love nest in the paper the next morning. As far as I can tell, my Dean knows nothing (and cares less) about academic values and principles. He runs the College as if it were a corporation, and in terms of the Rappaport matter treated me no differently from the way the President of Coca Cola would treat an employee who generated “bad press.” In his mind, I am the problem. My actions resulted in negative publicity. What else is there to care about? What part of bad PR don’t you understand? He has no idea that protecting freedom of faculty expression and defending the importance of truth and honesty are ends in themselves, or that a university has any higher function than courting favorable media coverage. Academic life is about fund-raising, and my (or the university’s) taking a principled stand might jeopardize that.
Other faculty in my College have been treated similarly, and many have left or been forced out in the past as a result. In the view of my Dean faculty members are, and should be treated as, corporate employees. He has no appreciation that academics are professionals, and that their words, actions, and expressions of ideas and opinions should be protected—or respected. The Dean has told the faculty that he feels free to read the emails they write. (I myself have been called on the carpet for emails I have sent to my students.) The Dean shocked the faculty two years ago by revealing that he had been covertly monitoring what faculty printed on their office computers. (The spy campaign surfaced when he reprimanded particular faculty members for printing things he disagreed with.) It accidentally came out later on that he has also instructed staff members secretly to call telephone numbers faculty have dialed on their office phones to find out who they have been talking to and verify that the calls are, to use the term of art he prefers, “appropriate.” He has criticized specific faculty members if, during the review process, they haven’t endorsed faculty promotions he is in favor of—to the point that I myself have stopped participating in faculty reviews since, if I dare to express reservations about a candidate the Dean prefers, it only gets my evaluations lowered—for being “uncollegial.” So much for treating faculty members with the respect due to professionals. So much for protecting the integrity of the faculty review process. Faculty are, in the Dean’s mind, corporate employees and should be treated like corporate employees. A faculty member is supposed to toe the line and do what he is told, not think or speak for himself.
A new faculty member soon learns the lesson: Your goal is to go along and get along, to generate positive PR (as distinguished from doing important intellectual work—the PR universe is certainly not identical to the universe of serious scholarship, something someone lacking an academic background, someone like my Dean, may have a hard time understanding), to support the candidates the Dean is in favor of promoting, and to watch what you write in your emails, who you call on your office phone, what you Xerox on the College copy machine, and what you teach in class. Or, at least, to keep your mouth shut and not to object to these—and a zillion other—controls on faculty thought and speech and distortions of intellectual values.
I should add that the Dean’s attitude to l’affaire Rappaport was affected in my case by another factor. Over the past ten years I’ve functioned as an internal whistleblower, filing a significant number of reports about professional misconduct and violations of academic freedom with administrators (including protesting the Dean’s surveillance and control of faculty printing and phone conversations). I have defended student rights, attempted the improve the pedagogical experience, and deplored the fact that film students were, in effect, being cheated by being denied a top-tier educational experience, even as they were paying a top-tier tuition and incurring debts that it would take half their lives to repay.
But speaking out, in this way about these and other matters, is itself grounds for a faculty member to be punished at BU. My Dean, my program Director, my Chairman, and most of the faculty in my department are extremely intolerant of views they disagree with—and resort to any tactic available for retaliating against a faculty member who thinks (and speaks) differently. I’ve already mentioned how my faculty web site was censored and taken away from me by my Dean and Chairman. My program Director and a number of faculty members in my department told students to boycott my classes because of things I had published. As I noted, my Dean scorched me in a memo because he disagreed with some ideas in several emails I sent to my students. And a blog entry I wrote last spring talking about some of the problems in my College, as well my reports to the university Ombuds about ethical violations in my College have also become grounds for my Dean and Chairman to punish me. (What kind of topsy-turvy world is it where the request that an Ombudsman look into a situation becomes grounds for punishing the person who made the request?) So much for academic freedom of expression at BU.
But punishing me, financially and bureaucratically is not good enough for the Dean, my Chairman, or my program Director. Their obvious goal is to get rid of me. But the problem is that I am tenured. When they learned about the Rappaport internet postings, they were beside themselves with joy. It was a dream come true—a too-good-to-resist pretext to get back at me for all of the reports about pedagogical and professional problems I’ve turned in over the years. The meeting about the Rappaport matter that I was grilled at was, as far as they were concerned, their long-delayed opportunity to come up with an excuse to override my tenure and dismiss me—their opportunity to play “gotcha.” That’s another side of Boston University. For decades, the administration, from the President on down, has specialized in finding ways to get around faculty tenure—ways to get rid of individuals the administration defines as faculty “troublemakers” (the term both my Dean and the Dean who preceded him have used to refer to me to my face). Rappaport’s postings were going to be the way. Since the end of that story has not yet been written, I’ll leave it there.
But I don’t want to appear to limit my observations to my College or my Dean—or to the Rappaport affair. Taking principled stands, treating faculty members with respect, defending faculty rights, and defending the importance of the tenure system have never been strong suits at Boston University. (Google the words “Howard Zinn,” a former faculty member, and “John Silber,” a former University President, for a past illustration of how general and long-standing the lack of respect for faculty rights has been at BU.) As I already mentioned, a few years ago my faculty web site was censored and censured by BU administrators, and I was told to remove it from the university server, because it included views of education that the administration did not agree with. I have been told how I am supposed to teach my courses, and what I am and am not allowed to say in my classroom (an outrageous violation of academic freedom, but the person who told it to me was the same university lawyer who was present at the Rappaport meeting). BU has a long history of intolerance of (and disrespect for) faculty members who have even the smallest inclination to think with their own brains or act according to their own ethical principles.
In my personal case, when I’ve expressed reservations about recent administrative intolerance as having a disastrously chilling effect on academic free expression, and spoken out about the de facto administrative negation of the protections of the tenure system, I’ve had my classes moved to impossible days, times, and rooms, my evaluations drastically lowered, my pay docked, my research and travel funding taken away, and my students told not to take classes with me by a Dean, a Chairman, and a program Director. (There’s too much to say about each of these punitive actions, and they have taken too many different forms, to describe them all in detail here and now, but I describe a few of the specific retaliatory actions taken against me by my program Director, Chairman, and Dean in two other sections of this site: “Parts 1 and 2″ of the section titled “Ten Years of Administrative Retaliation….” I would refer the interested reader there.)
Remember that my only sin all along has been that I politely spoke up and objected to some of the program Director’s, Dean’s, and Chairman’s policies, and reported a range of unethical and unprofessional behavior—in meeting after meeting, memo after memo, and, of course, in that posting (which I sent the text of to my Dean in April 2012, and which then became grounds for more punishment and a further hit on my pay), and in other things I wrote prior to it (which had been grounds for previous punishments). If the past is prologue, you can be sure that this current posting, here and now, will be grounds for additional punishments against me. That’s the BU way.
For doing those things, starting seven or eight years ago, I became, in my Dean’s, my Chairman’s, and my program Director’s minds, persona non grata. Since I was tenured, they couldn’t fire me outright, but the BU motto is where there is a will there is a way. If they couldn’t fire me, they could make the conditions of my job so untenable that I would quit. And, as I noted above, if I won’t resign voluntarily, plan B was to use the Rappaport matter as a pretext to take away my tenure and force me out. (That was the meaning of my Chairman’s attempt, for the tenth or twentieth time in the past few years, to persuade me to quit at the big Rappaport meeting, and the reason for his frustration that I wouldn’t listen to reason and continued to work at BU no matter how he punished me.)
It’s a BU administrative policy that a faculty member who doesn’t toe the line can be forced out, one way or another, whether he his tenured or not. If tenure is in play, the conditions of his or her job can be made so miserable (pedagogically, bureaucratically, and financially) that the faculty member will quit even with tenure. Tell students not to take his classes; cut his pay; marginalize his research; yell at him in meetings; and he will resign. If the abuse and punishment stick doesn’t turn the trick, the carrot of an early retirement package can be offered to get him to agree to quit. My Dean has tried both tactics with me—notwithstanding the fact that I am demonstrably one of the most highly published and world-famous scholars in the entire university and, at least according to my student evaluations, one of the best teachers my students have ever had. I simply refuse to give these administrators the satisfaction of having succeeded in pushing me out in such an underhanded way.
I honestly believe I am fighting the good fight—a deeply moral and ethical struggle for the future of Boston University as an institution and for the good of future faculty members who deserve to be able to speak their minds without fear or retaliation, and to be treated respectfully as professionals. I have given the best (or should I say the worst?) part of my career to serving Boston University and trying to raise its academic, intellectual, and ethical standards. The students and faculty deserve better than the current administration.
We know what much of corporate America is like; we know about the corruption of the political system; but it is a sad situation when one can’t look to a university for more principled responses—or for more respect for its faculty. When I think of the way I’ve been treated over the Rappaport matter, I wonder how Boston University would respond to real pressure—the kind of pressure that Joseph McCarthy applied to American universities in the early 1950s. Based on my experience, BU administrators would have told a faculty member to think of the PR implications for the university if he or she didn’t cooperate and go-along with McCarthy’s reign of terror. I am not equating my situation with the McCarthy years, but it has to give one pause to realize that Boston University is so intimidated by two con-men and a bunch of twenty-year olds who glom onto an internet petition about something they have no first-hand knowledge about.
Let me end with a semi-comical postscript: I don’t remember the date, but a decade or more ago, Boston University was put in a similar situation to the one I was put in with Rappaport. The university had been given a group of Martin Luther King documents back in the 1960s, I think it was, and years later Coretta Scott King wanted to rescind the gift to be able to deposit the papers elsewhere. BU fought her tooth and nail to defend its ownership, and eventually beat her in court. Funny that the university never worried about the PR implications when it was defending its own interests—only when a faculty member attempts to defend his. Good old BU.
Ray Carney is Professor of Film at Boston University. He is the author of ten books, translated into seven languages, and more than one hundred essays. 

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Appendix A
The complete text of my 2007 web site posting (which is still visible in its complete and unchanged form on my suppressed and frozen BU faculty web site), a posting that Rappaport admits to being familiar with and, in fact, has quoted from on numerous occasions. It directly contradicts his account of what happened. I describe the conditions of its posting in the following paragraphs, and quote it in its entirely below.–R.C.
Beyond the telephone conversations, the meeting in New York City, the email threads, and the notes included in the shipment itself, there is one more confirmation of the free-for-me-to-own-and-use, “gifted” nature of the material Mark Rappaport sent. It is in a posting on my official BU faculty web site, back in 2007, long before there was any reason for me to shade my account of this material in any way, since there had been no dispute about the fact that I owned it. (And would continue to be no dispute about my ownership and control of the material until April 2012, seven and a half years after its transfer in early 2005.)
The background to the posting is as follows. First point: Approximately a year after the receipt of the material, I made arrangements to build and outfit a special space to hold the material in better conditions than I was previously able to provide. I spent a significant amount of time, effort, and money on the project. I also spent a significant amount of time, effort, and money cleaning and, where necessary, repairing the films. My total expenditures, extending over many years, on what I half-jokingly often referred by saying “I am the Mark Rappaport archive,” were in the tens of thousands of dollars.
Second point: in 2005, 2006, and 2007, I had mentioned Rappaport’s gift of his films and other materials to me to a large number of friends, acquaintances, and email correspondents. That meant that by early 2007 I had received several inquires about whether I might make the films available for theatrical or classroom screenings, or might screen the material myself at some point (in public or in my classroom). I either did not reply (or replied negatively) to these inquiries, first, since I judged them to be not important, and second (as noted in the preceding paragraph) since I was too busy attending to the care and restoration of the works to worry about the next step. However some time in 2007, I received what I regarded as a high-level serious rental inquiry and decided that I needed to formulate a general response to save me the time of responding to each request individually. I informed Rappaport of the most recent request in detail (quoting it in its entirety to him), and reminding him, strictly as a formality since there was no dispute about it and we were in complete agreement, about our understanding that I had his permission to do whatever I wanted with the material. After consultation with him, and with his full knowledge and awareness, I then made the following web posting to announce my decision not to rent the material out for individual screenings, but only for more important institutional retrospectives.
The important point in all this is that Rappaport had (and to this day, continues to have) full knowledge of the posting on my web site (and in fact was consulted about it). As evidence of his knowledge, he referred to the posting in several subsequent conversations with me, and actually quoted excerpts from it several of his summer 2012 court filings and his fall 2012 internet postings. However, to my astonishment and dismay—both in his court filings and his internet postings—he completely reverses the meaning of the posting on my web site by means of highly selective quotation—where the most important parts of the text are omitted, and the meaning of other parts are grossly distorted by being cited only in isolated phrases and excerpts.
I give the complete, unaltered, unedited text of the 2007 posting (which never was changed or removed from my faculty web site). The only change I have made, to simplify reading it in the current situation (and to indicate how the text clearly supports my position about the “gifted” nature of the material, and completely refutes Rappaport’s “temporary storage and return” 2012 change in his account of the gift he had made me), is that I have bolded a number of the relevant phrases.
As I say above, the posting was written in response to a question I received from a man asking if I could tell him how to rent Rappaport’s films for screening. I reply by telling him that the films are not available for rental and go on to describe Rappaport’s gift of the material to me and my creation of a space to house it.


Mark Rappaport doesn’t distribute his work any more. He left the country about two years ago and had stopped renting prints even before that. It was a losing proposition, like so many indie situations. And now that he’s left the country, there is not even the chance for a special exception. No more rentals, alas. I’m not sure you know: At this point, he lives in Paris. As you undoubtedly realize, shipping prints in and out of the US from France would be virtually impossible, given all the customs and shipping paperwork involved. But that isn’t even a possibility since he doesn’t now have any prints in his possession. He gave them to me. I have them. He just couldn’t take all that stuff to Paris with him. It would have been too much to ship and store there.
Let me explain what happened. Did you know the following? Mark is a great friend and gave me almost everything he owned when he left New York for France? Thousands of pages and box after box of material. So I am now the “Mark Rappaport Archive.” I have the largest collection of material by him in the world: file cabinets and storage bins full of amazing things: production notebooks, film prints, rough drafts, revisions, scripts, film stock, DVDs, tapes, notes, jottings, journals, etc. etc. etc. It’s a dream come true for me and one of the major film collections by one of the world’s greatest artists. All being preserved for posterity at any cost. (Just like my rare Cassavetes material–both unknown film material and scripts and notebooks.) But, alas, I am not a rental operation, and can’t possibly deal with sending things out and tending to the paperwork and cleaning prints and repairing splices, etc. (Let alone the risk of losing the only print of something, the only copy I have.) So my massive collection is of no use at all for your purposes. Mark is one of cinema’s greatest living artists and I would love to make all of this material available to a museum or film archive for a massive retrospective “show” of Mark’s work, notebooks, scripts, etc., but I just can’t send individual films out to movie theaters for one-time bookings.

Note that the text makes no reference whatsoever to the material being only loaned or sent to me for temporary storage and return. It explicitly states that it was given to me. I state this twice. In the first paragraph: “he doesn’t now have any prints in his possession. He gave them to me.” And in the second paragraph: “Mark …  gave me almost everything he owned when he left New York for France.” I also state the same concept a third and fourth time, in different terms in the second paragraph: “I am the ‘Mark Rappaport Archive…,’ and “I have the largest collection of material by him….”

The first two are statements that the material was a gift, and the second two are clear assertions that I now own and control the use of the physical objects: In addition, near the end of the second paragraph, there is a fifth statement that reinforces my claim of ownership. I refer to the films and other material as “my massive collection…..” —not his collection, and not anyone else’s (like BU’s).
My statement that the Rappaport material is “just like my rare Cassavetes material” is one more confirmation of my statement that the Rappaport material was gifted, once the facts are known about the reference. (Both Rappaport himself and most of the visitors to my site reading this posting would know the facts of the very famous Cassavetes material.) Here are the facts: The filmmaker John Cassavetes gave me film material shortly before his death. It was given to me, free and clear, with no strings attached, and with no qualifications in the gift, to use as I saw fit. It was not loaned to me or sent with the expectation of ever being returned to him or his estate. In our early conversations, Rappaport knew about the Cassavetes gift (as did thousands of other people), and, in fact, back in 2005, told me that one of the reasons he thought of me to receive his gift of film material—the reason he thought I would agree to accept it as a gift—was because he knew I had already accepted a similar body of material as a gift from the other filmmaker.
Note that, at the end of the web site posting I make yet a sixth assertion of my personal ownership of, and my right to show, the Rappaport material as follows: “I would love to make all of this material available to a museum or film archive for a massive retrospective ‘show’ of Mark’s work, notebooks, scripts, etc.” I could not say this if the material and permission to screen it had not been given to me free and clear. I would have had to talk about not me, but about Mark Rappaport “making the material available.” I would have had to refer any screening offers to him, not solicited them myself, as I am clearly doing here. But I didn’t need to do that, since the 2005 thread of emails includes several where Rappaport explicitly conveys the rights not only to physically own, but to show and screen or otherwise use, the material to me—an assurance I asked for from him to be able to do what I state my intention to do at the end of this posting.
In summary, the entire statement exactly as I quote it above (but without the bolding) was posted six years ago (in 2007) and was called to Rappaport’s attention shortly after it was posted—and Rappaport never once objected in any way to the phrasing or assertions in the posting. He never asked me to take it down from the web site, or change it in any way. He never told me I was misrepresenting the nature of the “gift” from him to me. He never told me that I was mistaken in referring to the material as being “mine.” He never objected to my comparison of the status of his film gift with the earlier film gift from Cassavetes. He never disputed my right to make arrangements to screen the films in a festival—nor objected to anything else in the posting.
Rappaport’s use of extended excerpts from this posting in both his 2012 court filings and his more recent internet postings on the Jost web site shows that he, in fact, continues to be familiar with this posting—which he has, even up to now, never taken issue with. He is apparently convinced that no one who reads the distorted (and highly selective) quotations he borrows from it will take the time to actually consult the full text to see that, in fact, in its complete form, it does not confirm but invalidates his claim to own this material, and to have had an agreement with me for its return. The web site text shows that is the opposite of the truth, and that that he knew it all along.
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Appendix B
The complete text of an email I wrote to Mark Rappaport in the summer of 2012, attempting to work out an arrangement to return all of the material to him, if he will simply agree to pay a small part of the costs I had incurred to store and preserve it—costs that would have been less than the legal costs he incurred to bully and threaten me. Note that I was willing to lose a significant amount of money in the exchange (thousands of dollars), was willing to take a financial bath, simply as an act of friendship and kindness. I was being extremely generous in an attempt to be kind to him. He rejected my offer. —R.C.
Monday August 20, 2012
I haven’t told my lawyer that I am writing this (I’m not sure if he would want me to), but wanted to make a personal offer, man-to-man, to you. I wanted to tell you I’d be glad to return everything for less than I would assume you are, or will be, spending on lawyer’s fees to attempt to get it. (And not to raise a sore point, or launch a debate over the facts, which I am willing to let speak for themselves, but I’m not at all convinced that the legal path will lead to success in any case. I have ample documentation of the “gifted/discarded” nature of the material I paid to Fedex to myself back in 2005.) But I’m not writing to debate that point. I simply wanted to say that, as an act of genuine friendship and honest support for you and your work (yes, I still think it is important work!), I am willing to tear up those documents, transfer ownership back to you, and ship everything back for a modest consideration, simply to cover my costs and the time and trouble of having stored the material for the past seven-and-a-half years. That way you’d have everything in your hands in one simple step, in the very near future. I’m sure I’m not the first person to conclude that this court method is not the best—or fastest and most efficient!—way of doing things. (And it sure isn’t the most fun way I can imagine spending my summer!) Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that. You can reach me at this email account (I almost never check any of the other old ones), or you can call me at xxx-xxx-xxxx. I sincerely wish you well and am genuinely sorry that this issue has come between us.
Ray Carney
Prof. of Film and American Studies
Boston University
Appendix C
My reply to my Dept. of Film and Television Chairman Paul Schneider’s accusations, summarizing the Rappaport situation as it stood in September 2012, and reiterating for the record: 1) my highly ethical and principled conduct in every respect; and 2) my commitment to “take the high road” in the face of Rappaport and Jost’s numerous false accusations against me—my decision not call them names back, not to post incendiary counter-accusations on the internet, not to sling mud, and not to make nasty and slanderous personal statements about them in public. Note that I asked that even this email describing their conduct as “knowingly false and willfully malicious” be kept private and confidential and not be used against them, publicly released, or posted on the internet. I maintained my silence for nearly six months. —R.C.
From: Ray Carney
Date: September 21, 2012 2:27:10 PM EDT
To: Chairman Paul Schneider, Dean Thomas Fiedler, Provost Jean Morrison
Subject: Rappaport
I have been traveling and without access to an internet connection—as you may know, I own no portable devices, not even a cell phone—so I was unaware of your emails (and for some reason never received the phone messages you left). I am genuinely sorry you have had to devote any time to the silly, stupid, and completely groundless Rappaport accusations. To answer the questions implied in your note to me:
1. With respect to statements to the effect that I have not returned personal property owned by Mr. Rappaport: I hold none of Mr. Rappaport’s property. Insofar as he has represented otherwise, his statements are knowingly false (and willfully malicious).
2. With respect to the implication that I might be guilty of a violation of University ethical policies or principles: None of Mr. Rappaport’s (false and malicious) claims have any connection with my academic position or the performance of my duties at Boston University. If he has represented otherwise, those statements too are knowingly false (and willfully malicious).
3. I certify more generally, for the record, that I have behaved in all of my dealings with Mr. Rappaport, in every respect and over the course of many years, with the highest degree of integrity, honesty, truthfulness, fairness, kindness, and generosity. I have adhered to (and continue to adhere to) the highest possible ethical standards in my dealings with him in every respect (including, I might add, not descending to his level, down into the mud to call him names, slander him, or make counter-accusations against him, publicly or privately, in response to his relentlessly and knowingly false, malicious, and slanderous statements against me).
4. I might add, parenthetically, as a bit of a reality-check: If I were, in fact, guilty of the kind of flagrant misappropriation of property that Mr. Rappaport claims I am guilty of, the legal system is abundantly available to him to prosecute his claims, and would grant him more than ample redress if his complaints had any validity. The fact that there is no present or pending legal claim against me for the return of property should indicate the unsubstantiated nature of Mr. Rappaport’s representations (and the reason he has chosen to resort instead to name-calling, slander, and misrepresentation to achieve what he cannot achieve through the production of evidence and taking of testimony).
Since legal action against Mr. Rappaport for his statements about me is contemplated, it is not appropriate for me to make further or more detailed statements about this issue. But I repeat, emphatically, that I have adhered to (and continue to adhere to) the highest possible ethical principles both in the performance of my duties at Boston University and in my personal dealings with Mr. Rappaport (and everyone else).
To save you trouble, I am carboning Provost Morrison and Dean Fiedler with this response. In line with my continuing ethical commitment to “take the high road,” and not conduct a war of counter-accusations against Mr. Rappaport in public or private—and additionally not to open myself to the kind of selective misquotation and wholesale misrepresentation that Mr. Rappaport has previously employed against me to falsify the meaning of past communications with him or others—I would ask that you not otherwise circulate or publish this email, which is intended to be read only by the recipients and other, directly involved, senior Boston University officials.
Best wishes,
Ray Carney
Prof. of Film and American Studies
Boston University
Author or editor of: Henry Adams, Mount Saint Michel and Chartres (Viking Penguin), Henry James, What Maisie Knew and The Spoils of Poynton (New American Library/Signet), Rudyard Kipling, Kim (New American Library), The Films of John Cassavetes: Pragmatism, Modernism and the Movies (Cambridge University Press); The Films of Mike Leigh: Embracing the World (Cambridge University Press); Speaking the Language of Desire: The Films of Carl Dreyer (Cambridge University Press); American Vision: The Films of Frank Capra (Cambridge University Press); American Dreaming (University of California Press at Berkeley); Shadows (British Film Institute/Macmillan); Cassavetes on Cassavetes (Faber and Faber/Farrar, Straus); The Adventure of Insecurity; Necessary Experiences; Why Art Matters; and other books, essays, and editions, translated into many languages.
Official university web site: (the content
censored, and the site officially closed to future posting by Boston
University in 2008)

Ray Carney, Professor (tenured) of Film and American Studies, Boston University at 9:15 AM


 reflect MGraphic by Mark Rappaport

Having waited for several months for Boston University to respond to the previous postings, and to the on-line petition, with indications that they were doing something, the latest word is that they seem to have taken the usual corporate route, and done a CYA move: they tossed it into the hands of their legal counsel, and latest word from Mark indicates as far as the the university is concerned it is a private matter between Prof. Carney and Mr. Rappaport.

As Boston University requested that I provide copies of correspondence which Carney had had with me prior to my blog posting, My Brilliant (Academic) Career, of March 23, 2012, done at the behest of Carney, and as Carney has not seen fit to reply to the emails I sent him when the Rappaport case came to my attention, I have decided it is appropriate to publish those letters.  I print them below, intact.  As they indicate, Professor Carney carefully orchestrated the publishing of his letter in the post of March 23, though he requested I make it appear I did so on my own.  The truth is that he had me wait to print his long screed as he re-wrote and edited what he wanted to say.  If you will read through, and consider Carney’s behavior and actions, one could fairly say he is an extremely duplicitous and devious soul.  In light of these letters, his actions with regard to Mark Rappaport take on a certain ill logic.

Nov. 11, 2011



Just an update on the general situation: Gerry Peary the BU booker turned me down on inviting you to speak and/or present a film. Just between us: I wouldn’t let it bother you. Gerry is only interested in chasing the latest fire engine in terms of media coverage and if someone is not on the “hot list” then it is almost impossible to persuade him of the value of an event. And (as can be predicted, and applies to people of his sort) he has NO OPINIONS/JUDGEMENT/INSIGHT of his own, but just looks in the Times or some Film mag for his ideas of what is hot or not. If you had an article about you in the Times, he’d suddenly be very interested!!

John Gianvito (I know you know him, but he’s been a friend of mine for more than 20 years at this point) told me that their speakers’ series at the College pays too little and would only be an insult to offer you something there, but did say that he was going to pursue thee idea of inviting you by approaching their booker for their professional-level subscription series arts program (something called ARTSEMERSON) and that that might or might not fly. Anyway, that’s still a possibility.

On my own private front: I’m still deciding how and when to “go public” with the BU stuff. Nothing has changed in terms of their treatment of me; in fact it’s prob. become a little worse than before. They have not only cut my salary and assigned my classes to awful rooms and times, but lately have issued all sorts of de facto censorship rulings against me. (E.G. when I travelled to Toronto about ten days ago, my Chairman said he “wanted to go on the record” that I was not to talk about anything bad about BU or the dept. or I would be in trouble with the university.) So they are actually shameless about the lack of intellectual freedom at BU. Suspending my web site (and screaming at me for hours and then lowering my evaluations and docking my salary about what was posted on it–where I actually uttered the heresy that “people who had spent their lives working in the industry might not be the best possible teachers for the next generation of artists”—outrageous, eh? but things like this were to them since they all came from “the industry” themselves….. Universities are big on supporting the expression of “liberal” opinions until they actually say something that affects or applies to them!!! Just like the US govt or a fascist regime.

So I’ll let you know about that one in a week or two.

Stay well. I’ll keep working the angles for you in the neighborhood. Another possibility is a retrospective at a local film festival in May. The Boston Indep. Film Festival. Really top notch and smart, and I’m on their board of advisors.

See you around.



Nov. 22,  2011


Hi Jon,

Sorry to have been out of touch…. but the term is over and I finally

have a minute. Here’s the deal (on several things):

1. Can you please use this email account, and only this account, in

the future for all mailings? I am convinced that BU is reading (or at

least considering reading) all of my university email. So use only

2. I finally had an hour to write out an account of the BU fiasco in

detail (about 4000 words, yikes!). But I did it carefully and it tells

the whole Godawful tale of torture and stupidity. I want to send it to

you as soon as I hear back that you can still post it in the

reasonable future. If you are able to do this, I will be in your debt.

3. Assuming you can post it, can I ask that you do it in the following

way? Just post the text that I am sending you (I wrote and will send

it in a MS Word docx file) as if it were merely an email I sent to you

that you decided to post. In other words, I would like the cover story

to be that I sent you and email and you decided it was important

enough to post and you just did it. I would like it if you didn’t say

that I asked you to post it. Is that clear? Is that OK? I am going to

be in a heap of trouble for this (when you read it, you’ll see why)

and don’t need to compound the felony by making it seem that I

deliberately had it posted. I’ll act like it was an accident of my

sending it to you. (These fuckers, like all professionals–doctors,

lawyers, etc.–regard the “going outside the system” as one of the

cardinal sins so I can at least say that I didn’t realize you were

going to post it, even as it will still scorch the proper parties.)

4. You can feel free to include a preface or note of your own to

preceded or follow it, whatever you feel moved to write. I leave that

up to you, but just don’t reveal that I wrote this particular email to

you asking that you post the material, just say that you received it

from me and thought it raised important issues that were worth calling

to people’s attention. Is that OK?

Finally, to repeat, use this account for all future

correspondence. If the BU fuckers are reading my university email,

that is why I can’t possibly write the above stuff on the

account or receive mail from you about it on that account or they will

bust me for certain…..

As you will see, the situation is almost unbelieveable and

unbelieveably horrible. It gives me insight into how close the Nazis

and Stalinists and Maoists are to all of us, or how easy it is for

even an upstanding institution to move down that road toward fascism

and censorship.

When I hear back from you, assuming the above is OK with you, I’ll

send on the MS Word file, which you can open and post to your blog. It

has italics in it, which sometimes don’t post well on the internet,

but I trust you to do whatever you see fit to make the posting

adequate. As I say I wrote it as a selfcontained email to you,

beginning with “Dear Jon” and ending with my name and signature box,

so you can just present it as a single long email on the scariness of

the American educational system…… or however you see it.

I may be out for part of tomorow afternoon, but whenever I am able to

access email again, I’ll send the file onto you, if the preceding is


Keep fighting the good fight. And thanks, Jon! You’re a mench!!


Ray Carney, Prof. of Film and American Studies


January 5, 2012


Good to hear from you!

I’ll talk to this Adam Roffmann guy (the Indie Film Fest) and tell him

to give you some moola and that it will be a bargain at twice the

price! But God knows if he’ll take the bait… I find the Film Fests

(even of indie work) are hardly different from the suburban malls in

their desire to sell tickets, get press coverage, and score names…..

why do they exist if they don’t want to be any different from the

mainstream theaters???? But I shall let you know what turns out.

Sure, have Buck send me anything you or he thinks is worth it from

him. I teach my Indie Film course this spring and am always looking

for new “discoveries!” My goal is to assault my students and destroy

their bourgeois complacencies…. but short of that, just to give them

a few new insights and experiences!……My home address (BU is

mailroom hell, so avoid that one) is:

Ray Carney

8 Clarkson Drive

Walpole, MA 02081

The pickup/station wagon trip sounds just out there enough to be

fun…… Did you ever see my pal Robert Kramer’s Route One? He

travelled from Maine to Florida and filmed scenes along the way for a

portrait of America. A vision of insanity. Four or five hours in all.

Pretty good stuff. (Not, never, of course, on video, but I show it

every four or five years in my courses. Another reason to remove me.

It drives the students and faculty nuts. Their punishment!)

Thanks for the quick response. Late here.


Feb 27, 2012


Jon, FYI, look at:

This State Dept. story of expelling someone for telling the truth and

saying waht he thinks is much closer to my situation than anything

I’ve seen in an academic setting. The only differences are in favor of

the State Department actually:

1. I am not just walking the halls, but having my pay cut, and being

retaliated against in every possible way (terrible schedules,

classrooms, verbal and other abuse).

2. This is being done not by a government body like the State Dept.

but by an institution (a university) explicitly committed to free

inquiry and open expression.

3. The treatment I have received is endorsed at the highest academic

levels by the President and Provost and even the Ombuds person is

afraid to speak out against it…..

For what it’s worth. Censorship is the preferred policy of those who

have no reply to what is being said.


March 5, 2012



I’ve been out of touch. Just checking in on whether you can see your

way clear to posting that email…… My main concern about the timing

is that Feb and March are the major months universities do hiring for

the following academic year and thus the best time for me to have any

leverage against them, if word gets out via my letter to you about the

anti-faculty, censorhip, retaliation policy in place at BU. If the

material goes up after that, they won’t care nearly as much since next

year will be in place.

But I totally understand and sympathize with your busyness. Just

thought I’d touch base.

Keep kicking against the you know whats!

Best wishes,


March 6, 2012


Thanks for whatever you can do, Jon. Of course your endorsement and

anything you can say on my behalf will count for a lot, but I

understand how much you must be in catch-up mode, particularly after

the operation.

All best wishes. Six forty AM here. I’m off to BU to teach and won’t

be done till around 10PM tonight. (Part of their punishment of me is

my awful teaching schedule!)

Best wishes and thanks,


March 8, 2012


Thanks, Jon, for sending me Jason S’s message and your mini-interview

reply. It all goes into the mill of my mind for thinking about you and

your important art. Some day maybe we can do a real interview for

publication in a major place, but not now when we’re both so damn

busy, you with your film and me with the semester (at its exact

half-way point this week).

Stay well. Keep going. And keep telling the truth, even if (and when)

people may not recognize it, or want to hear it. We have to both keep

giving our gifts, even if only a few people understand or want them.



March 27, 2012


Thanks, Jon. And most people who read it on your blog won’t even

think, one way or the other, about the permission issue in my view.

It’s only the shit BU administrators who would use it to fry me, and,

as I noted, to doge what I say by “changing the subject” from the

issues I raise to the fact that I raised them “in public.” (Of course,

as you know and I re-certify to you again, I have raised them dozens,

nay hundreds of times, in memos,meetings, emails, etc. with them

already.) I appreciate your respecting my judgment on this one.

Bureaucracy does anything in its power to “change the subject,” so

this will (in my view) disarm that tactic.




Following these letters, I wrote to Carney a handful of times, inquiring if there had been any result from the publication, but he never responded.  This termination of correspondence on his part suggests several things – that he’d gotten what he wished out of me and I was dispensable, &/or, that as the situation with Mark Rappaport had taken a sharp turn towards a legal confrontation, he was either too occupied with that, or surmised where I would stand if I knew of it.   On hearing about what had happened with Mark I wrote Carney a number of times, initially in a friendly manner, asking for an explanation and that he promptly return Mark’s materials.  These have been posted in the first Chained Relations blog.  I have never heard in any manner from Ray Carney since the last note he sent on March 27, 2012.

If this matter has not been resolved in the coming month, I will proceed to publish letters written by BU to Mark Rappaport, and to myself, and will publish a letter Mark has sent to the President of BU and the head of Carney’s department.

The Boston Globe has been working on a supposedly long and in-depth article on this matter which is supposed to go to press in February.  IndieWire also has said it would do something, and has interview Mark and myself, but so far nothing solid.

As the spring term has begun and Professor Carney is evidently still in the employ of BU, and teaching his class, I would suggest that students either boycott his classes or inquire in each class when he is going to return Mark’s materials to him, and for him to explain in full his stance in this matter.  Any time Professor Carney raises matters of ethics, corruption, integrity, honesty and truthfulness, which he seems wont to do, he should be aggressively challenged to provide an explanation for the ethics of his actions with respect to Mark Rappaport.  Should he assert that he was “given” Rappaport’s materials, it should be demanded that he produce a legally viable written letter/contract to that effect.

Those following this are encouraged to contact Professor Carney directly, at the following emails, or at his address.

 dblcarneyProfessor Raymond Carney, Boston University

Ray Carney

8 Clarkson Drive

Walpole, MA 02081

Tel: 508 668 3483


Also, emails to Boston University would be appropriate, especially from those with institutional ties.

Paul Schneider, Chair, Media

Noreen Trahon

Finance & Administration Manager

Boston University

Office of the General Counsel

125 Bay State Road

Boston, Massachusetts 02215

T:  617-353-4699

F:  617-353-5529

You may also make a complaint, regarding “ethics” to the following

HotLine system.

BU’s Ethics stance is published here.

You may also submit a report by telephone through the EthicsPoint Call Center by dialing toll-free 1-866-294-8451. Alternatively, you may submit a report in writing to the following address:

Boston University, C/O EthicsPoint, PO Box 230369, Portland, OR 97223


It is a bit curious that in classic contemporary manner, the corporate organism which is Boston University appears to have out-sourced its “ethics” mechanism to a company on the other side of the country.


woman man dbl

[If in NYC, there will be a benefit screening for Mark at Videology; they have a Facebook page up here.  If in the area, check it out.]

Back a few weeks ago, the petition tipped over the 1000 mark we’d been aiming for, and my collaborator on this, Daniel Levine, printed it all up and delivered it to the heads of the Communications and the Film/Television Departments at Boston University.  Below is his report on what happened.

Hi everybody, my name’s Daniel Levine, and I’ve been the silent partner in the effort to get Mark’s films back. Because it would be prohibitively difficult for Mark or Jon to get to Boston, I went in person on Friday afternoon to deliver the printed petition along with some contextual supplements to Paul Schneider, Dean of the BU school of Communications, and Tom Fiedler, head of their Film Department.

First, the good stuff. Both of them responded to my e-mails requesting meetings very quickly. They’re very aware of this situation, Fiedler more so than Schneider. They were both very courteous and as far as I could discern, straightforward with me regarding the situation as it stands. Their office complex has a very fancy coffee machine, which brewed me a correspondingly fancy cup of coffee.

Now the other stuff. Both meetings were fairly similar, so I’m going to outline the position both Schneider and Fiedler gave me in shot instead of describing both meetings. And it should be noted that when I say “BU” here, I mean specifically Schneider and Fiedler.

BU claims that they can’t do anything until they can prove that Carney was specifically acting as a representative of BU or presenting himself as acting as a representative of BU when Mark gave him the films. They claimed to have checked for the FedEx invoice showing the films were sent using BU funds but haven’t found anything, though that’s as likely because it was thrown out/lost as anything else. They also claimed to have checked with FedEx for a record of it, but said FedEx only keeps two years worth of records.

I asked each of them if Carney’s storing the films at BU would constitute involvement and each of them said they weren’t sure where he would have stored them as the Communications school doesn’t have an area for archives that would hold such things. Not knowing the building, I had no idea where to even begin trying to verify that. If any BU students could speak to this, it would be appreciated. I imagine their library might have such an archive and the corresponding records, but wasn’t able to check there before Sandy came to town. If anyone would know where/what to check in the library records, that would also be appreciated.

Regarding the issue of whether Carney perjured himself, Schneider, who had spoken with BU’s lawyers regarding the issue and is Fiedler’s administrative superior, claimed that unless a judge had actually declared the inventory mismatch to be perjury, BU couldn’t make a statement or take action on it either way. He seemed much more nervous than Fiedler, and did a double take when he saw just how many signatures we’d collected. From Schneider’s/the BU lawyers’ standpoint, they couldn’t officially consider the matter to be anything more than two guys claiming various things. Also, without access to the inventory of Mark’s work, he and the lawyers couldn’t verify one way or the other if the alleged perjury happened. He also said that the materials could have fit in Carney’s office. I didn’t get to see Carney’s office, but it seemed plausible.

Fiedler said that since Carney isn’t teaching this semester, he has no power to compel him to show himself or be reachable. However, come the winter semester, this is no longer the case, as Carney will be teaching the course “American Independent Film”, including, I imagine, at least one Mark Rappaport film on the syllabus.

For a faculty that supposedly has been out to get Prof. Carney, at least according to Prof. Carney’s own voluminous diatribes, they seemed pretty mild mannered about the whole thing. To hear Carney’s side of it, you’d think they’d have jumped at the first chance to get rid of the guy.

Whether this is all waffling or not isn’t my place to decide. But it should be said that the number and distinction of the signers of the petition made an impression on both of them, and I think put some pressure on. If I have to go to Boston for another meeting, I will. As it stands, Schneider asked me to e-mail him again in a couple weeks to check up on whether any breakthroughs have been made. If anything else does happen, I’ll write another update.

My own view of this encounter is that, though I understand those at Boston University would dearly love to be rid of Mr Carney, they nevertheless are creatures of a somewhat rigid institution: a university.  Hence their heads stay in the fox-holes, necks are not put out, and it is CYA as usual.  It will clearly take either a smoking gun, or extraordinary external pressure to get the institution to move.

At present Fed Ex has made 6 attempts to deliver the Petition to Professor Carney directly, to multiple addresses where he allegedly resides.  So far these attempts have failed.  It seems rather clear Carney is in effect, “in hiding.”   Perhaps he is sequestered to concentrate on some magnum opus, perhaps even on his favored filmmaker Mark Rappaport.  Or perhaps he is in deepest denial.  His absence leaves everything open to speculation, which I imagine is a very much intentional tactic on the Professor’s part.  Perhaps he imagines this will all blow over and be forgotten in the wake of Hurricane Issac, the election, and the coming follies of our national consumer-Christmas and drunken New Year.  And then, when he re-materializes for his spring class of teaching “American Independent Cinema” he’ll be welcomed by eager students, ready to sit before him and lap at his fount of wisdom.

Below is a listing of those who signed the petition thus far, and the comments left by some of them, compiled by Mark Rappaport.

October-November 2012
To the Reader of this letter:

The names on the attached petition were all signed in response to Jon Jost’s on-line petition on behalf of Mark Rappaport, whose films are being held hostage by Ray Carney for no apparent reason.  The petition remains on line and is available for signing at

There were well over a thousand signatures in just a week, responding to a call to arms. I admit quite frankly I don’t know who most of the people are, what their backgrounds are, or what their resumes are like. I can only assume that most of them are very interested in films and their proper preservation. It’s tempting to lead off with the celebrity names because they always attract the most attention. But all the names, for a variety of reasons, are very important. And the sense of outrage as expressed in the comments are fairly unanimous.

To start at the beginning, the following people from world-renowned film archives and film museums have signed—

Costa-Gavras, Bernard Benoliel (Cinematheque Française)
Chema Prado, Catherine Gauthier (Filmoteca Española)
Alexander Horwath (Vienna Film Museum)
Alberto Barbera (Museo Nazionale Di Cinema)
Martin Koerber (Deutsche Kinemathek)
Caroline Yeager, Dan Wagner (George Eastman House)
Jan-Christophe Horak (UCLA Archives)
Geoff Andrew, former director Ian Christie (British Film Institute)
Jed Rapfogel (Anthology Film Archives )
Rick Prelinger (Prelinger Archives)

Film festivals—

Kent Jones (New York Film Festival)
Alberto Barbera (Venice Film Festival)
Alexander Horwath, former director (Vienna Film Festival)
Gertjian Zuilhof (Rotterdam Film Festival)
Chris Fujiwara (Edinburgh Film Festival)

Many peoples’ names appear on this particular list twice, since they do many things, including writing.   Distinguished film historians, critics, academics, and/or film theorists, not in any particular order —

Thomas Elsaesser, Bernard Eisenschitz, Tag Gallagher, Thomas Gunning, James Naremore, Joseph McBride, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Ian Christie, Raymond Bellour, Nicole Brenez, Adrian Martin, Carrie Ricky, Kristin Thompson, Godfrey Cheshire, Matt Zoller Seitz, Jacques Aumont, Richard Kozarski, David Ansen, Antonio Weinrichter, Marcos Uzal, David Edelstein, Carlos Herederos (editor of Cahiers du Cinéma España), Jean-Michel Frodon (former editor of Cahiers du Cinéma), David Bordwell, B. Ruby Rich, Michael Sragow, David Ehrenstein, Ella Taylor, Kevin Thomas, Chris Fujiwara, Kent Jones.

Many, many heads of film departments and film teachers.

Filmmakers, not in any particular order—


Atom Egoyan,

John Waters,

Gus Van Sant,

Barbara Kopple (2-time Oscar Winner),

Susan Seidelman,

Tom Di Cillo,

Guy Maddin,

Monte Hellman,

Olivier Assayas,

Bela Tarr,

Jim Jarmusch,

Christian Petzold,

Jim McBride,

James Schamus.

Avant-garde filmmakers (although I don’t know why this should be a separate category)—

Ken Jacobs,

Monika Treut,

Thom Anderson,

James Benning,

Su Friedrich,

Mattias Müller,

Bette Gordon,

Peter Hutton,

Sara Driver,

Andrés Duque,

Jackie Raynal,

Lewis Klahr,

Caveh Zahedi,

Maria Cañas,

Jay Rosenblatt,

Andy Horn,

Manuel DeLanda,

Emily Breer,

Anita Thacher,

Robert Beavers,

Phil Solomon,

Leslie Thornton,

Tom Kalin,

Heinz Emigholz,

Jon Jost.


Deborah Schaffer,

Mark Daniels,

Bill Brand,

Christine LeGoff,

Jacki Ochs,

Amalie Rothschild,

Stephanie Black.

If there are any names I overlooked, omitted, or simply did not recognize, I humbly apologize.

Let me also say that Francine Prose, the novelist, and Alberto Manguel, author of the international best-seller, “The History of Reading,” countless anthologies, novels, and essays, have signed.

And because they are not in any category but are indelibly linked to film history, I would like to mention Luce Vigo, daughter of Jean Vigo and champion of documentary films, Marisa Paredes, star of several Almodóvar films (“The Secret of My Flower” and “All About My Mother,” among others), as well as films by Raul Ruíz and Manuel Oliveira, Christa Fuller, widow of Sam Fuller, and Isabelle Weingarten, the lead in Bresson’s “Four Nights of a Dreamer,” as well as films by Jean Eustache and Wim Wenders.

Whether the signatories are famous or not, whether you, or even I, recognize their names or not, is irrelevant. They are all united in being appalled by Carney’s behavior, and they demand the immediate release of Mark Rappaport’s materials to their rightful owner.

Thank you for your interest and concern in this matter,
Mark Rappaport

Supporters’ Comments

About one-third of the signatories chose to make comments. They are printed below.  Starting are those “most liked.”

su friedrich BROOKLYN, NY

No one but the filmmaker has the final right to their work, so there is no excuse for not returning work to the maker if they request it.

Kristin Thompson MADISON, WI

Obviously all this material should immediately be turned over to Rappaport. If Carney has no sense of decency, he might at least consider the damage his actions have and will cause to his standing in the academic community.

Ken Jacobs NYC, NY

To help protect the work of one of our best film-artists, and to see that it’s properly returned to him.

Martin Koerber BERLIN, GERMANY

Assuming Ray Carney was acting as an archivist who wanted to help Mark Rappaport when he moved out of the country, let me say as a fellow archivist that the right of the artist to withdraw, for whatever reason, and certainly for the reason of making the works

Monte Hellman LOS ANGELES, CA

I’m a filmmaker, and can personalize empathize with this horror.


If even only the main facts of Jon Jost’s petition are true Mr. Carney is a shame for the international film science community. He should return the material immediately for his own sake – in order to save at least party his reputation.

roz payne RICHMOND, VT

justice for our films

David Bordwell MADISON, WI

I’ve waited to sign this to see if Carney emerged from his undisclosed location to surrender Mark Rappaport’s work, or to at least give his side of the dispute. But after several months Carney maintains secrecy and silence. So I too declare my support for Rappaport’s very reasonable request to recover his materials.  And two lessons for filmmakers: Deal with real archives, not individuals. And get it all in writing! Real friends don’t mind preparing contracts and receipts.

Rodney Hill ELMONT, NY

As a film scholar myself, I am shocked at this situation. In a “previous life” I worked on the distribution of some of Mark’s films and consider him a friend as well as a very important filmmaker.

Jeffrey Economy SAUGERTIES, NY

As a filmmaker who has weathered similar storms, I know all too well the horror that comes from a trust betrayed. Do the honorable thing, Ray. You know in your heart what is right.


Ray Carney spent years touting Rappaport. The idea that he’d be unwilling to give his stuff back is appalling, especially for a man who claims to be a film scholar. Grow up, Ray.


I never thought I’d find myself in the position of having to petition against Ray Carney. I was a full time student of his for three years and during that time he introduced me to artists that have been some of my greatest influences. Like many people here, we are familiar with Mark’s work through Carney’s lectures and writings. Mark even came to visit one of Carney’s classes to show what was then his current work, “From the Journals of Jean Seberg”. I don’t care to entertain what might be behind the reasons for his behavior, but Mark’s work should be returned to him immediately and without question.


Mark Rappaport is one of the greatest film makers of all time. He has the right to his own work.  What Carney has done is appaling, and quite shocking considering who he is. It’s a bizarre and unfair situation which I hope will be resolved in favor of Rappaport.

Alexander Schmidt GERMANY

Every filmmaker or in fact any artist whatsoever should have access to his material

Jamie Kirkpatrick NEW YORK, NY

As an alumnus of Boston University with a degree in Film Production, I find it appalling that this issue has even gone this far. Professor Carney has no rights whatsoever to an artist’s work and every delay in returning them only tarnishes the reputation of Professor Carney and Boston University.


isn’t it obvious?

Fred Murphy ASC NEW YORK, NY

Marks’s films are important ,should be seen often and he needs access to them.


Is a matter of justice and good sense.


Mark is a great film maker and his material belongs to him alone. One really cannot allow anyone to take, destroy or make use of what he has done. Hopefully all of his property will go back to him.

tomas savrda KENT, CT

I have seen this film years ago on TV. I do not recall much, but it has left an impression on me and I would love to see it again – it is a crime and selfish act to prevent the public from viewing it for whatever personal reasons.

Darrell Wilson STATEN ISLAND, NY, NY

Mark Rappaport’s works are National Treasures and Carney is a thief who has committed a horrible crime.

Christopher Harrrs OVIEDO, FL

Simple decency.

Barbara Moss NY, NY

As both an alumni of Boston U School of Communications and Founder of Women’s Film Preservation Fund I am simply appalled to read of this travesty of justice. Shame on this Prof of Film.


This is a moral, ethical and disturbing act on many levels, professional and socially. I refuse to allow a colleague or institution like Boston University allow this to continue.
Sergio F. A. D. F., MEXICO

I love Ray Carney’s work, but I’d hate myself if I didn’t sign this. I sincerely believe it’s the right thing to do.


It’s critical that the international film community stands together to state that filmmakers have full rights to their work.


I do not think stealing is ok.


I make films, Seba (a filmmaker) passed this petition to me, I trust Seba and I believe the story as written in the petition needs some sort of action. I hope Dr. Carney returns the materials to Mark


I am appalled.

Jane Piliavin OXNARD, CA

This is a crime. Theft of intellectual property. The guy should lose his tenure, and then some. I am a Professor, and this offends the intellectual community as a whole.

Peter Aaron HUDSON, NY

I shot one of Marks films and want to see them returned to him.

jan kroeze NEW YORK, NY

I am a long time admirer of Mark Rappaport and his work, and theft of intellectual property is abhorrent – in particular to people in our industry.

Patricia Costello WEST NEW YORK, NJ

Too often artists “lose” or more accurately have their works of art stolen by people who think they can take advantage of people.

Susan Martin-Marquez HIGHLAND PARK, NJ

I can’t imagine any possible justification for this behavior from a fellow academic. We should be trusted stewards and ethically-engaged commentators–not thieves–of artistic legacies.

Anne Demijttenaere CALCATA (VT), ITALY

Personal concern


Outrageous audacity

Tiruvadi Jagadisan INDIA


Jacki Ochs NEW YORK, NY

An outrageous act of theft perpetrated on a beloved indie artist.

Leslie Ross SEATTLE, WA

It is so very important to stand together in support of this great artist and to maintain our collective humanity. Thug, narcissists like Carney need to be shut down for all of our sakes.

It is important that filmmakers be able to retain the rights — physical as well as creative — to their materials when no written contract has been made to turn over such rights. Professor Carney, by refusing to return these materials to Mr. Rappaport, is not only in violation of the law, he is in violation of the ethical standards that he, as professor at Boston University, is entrusted with upholding. His actions show that he cannot be considered “the leading scholarly authority on American narrative art film” when he shows no respect for the makers of those films. Professor Carney has not only destroyed his own reputation, but he has also tarnished that of the institution he works for.


The truth will set you free.


I do not believe that any other party should hold the rights to creative material that excludes the authors input and possession. This is a blatant breech of human creative expression to will only go to marginalize film makers and artists. Disgraceful.

Sebastiano Tecchio ROME, ITALY

Sad and squalid scavenging… not tolerable!

Davide Sebastian ROME, ITALY

My source of inspiration!

paolo buggiani ROMA, ITALY

for justice

cinzia sarto ROMA, ITALY

Mark Rappaport’s films have been my source of inspiration and delight for years.

Michelle Citron CHICAGO, IL

I’m a filmmaker and fully support any filmmaker’s right to own and hold their own work.

Laura Boyes DURHAM, NC

It’s outrageous that an artist could be denied access to his own work.


While we can only hope Rappaport would be able to return to making films, the immediate need to return his films to him is obvious.
Dario Marchiori FRANCE

If that’s true, it seems to be just a “Greed” case. (“[Academic year] salaries for full-time faculty averaged $73,207. By rank, the average was $98,974 for professors, $69,911 for associate professors, $58,662 for assistant professors, $42,609 for instructors, and $48,289 for lecturers. Faculty in 4-year institutions earn higher salaries, on average, than do those in 2-year schools. In 2006–07, faculty salaries averaged $84,249 in private independent institutions, $71,362 in public institutions, and $66,118 in religiously affiliated private colleges and universities.”)

Amalie R. Rothschild NEW YORK, NY

As a fellow independent filmmaker I support Mark Rappaport’s rights to his own creative property. This situation is unfathomable.

Mark Eliot Rappaport SETAGAYA-KU, JAPAN

I’ve been a fan of Mr. Rappaport’s work for many years, not because we share the same first and last names, but because he is one of the most original filmmakers in the history of independent cinema. Shame on Ray Carney for holding Mr. Rappaport’s work to ransom.

Tom Whiteside DURHAM, NC

Fair is fair, unfair is unfair. Give him his films.

isabel Aboim-Inglez LISBON, Portugal

The right to intellectual property is a basic human right … the films reflect the thinking of Mark R and this cannot be stolen by others.

Grant McDonald AUSTRALIA

In honour of Ilona Staller who before the outset of the Gulf War offered to have sex with Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in return for peace in the region, I am willing to have sex with Ray Carney if he will return Mark Rappaport’s material immediately. He should do so anyway.


Professional Ethics.

Steve Anker VALENCIA, CA

The creative work of independent filmmakers is sacrosanct and should be respected at all costs and above all other matters. Period.

kristin hondros CHAPEL HILL, NC

Trust and community, to protect the work of MR, his legacy, and the future accessibility of his work.
Michael Cusdin AUSTRALIA The films belong to the filmmaker.Give.Them.Back.

Manas Bhattacharya INDIA

What Ray Carney is doing is outrageous and unpardonable. Mark Rappaport’s films belong to him. I sincerely hope he gets his work back without further ado. Cinephiles and scholars across the world deserve a chance to get to see Rappaport’s work.

Mary Dore BROOKLYN, NY Filmmaker,

this is theft.

Helen Bandis AUSTRALIA

Mr. Carney needs to put his ego to rest. Return Rappaport’s films!

Dimitry Heu-Mojaïsky FRANCE

Things like this really shouldn’t happen.

philippa bateman AUSTRALIA

Theft and lying under oath? A filmmaker who is denied access to what is his? It’s a disgrace

Jerry Lentz LORETTO, TN

Isn’t this clearly the right thing to do?


Bizarre, incomprehensible behavior. Why is Ray Carney doing this – and what does he hope to gain? For goodness sake let’s get Mark Rappaport’s work back into circulation, after too long an absence!


An artist should not be denied access to his own work. He gave the items in good faith not as a permanent measure.


An artist’s work is theirs

Helen Bandis AUSTRALIA

This is theft. And then he lied under oath? Why is he still employed?

Christopher Hayden SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY

I respect Mr. Carney’s voice and work, but it seems to me he’s overstepped his bounds here.

Noel Murray CONWAY, AR

Mark Rappaport helped change the way I think about movies, and deserves to keep doing so for others, with his original materials.

Lisa Zimble VENICE, CA

I love Mark — and his films — and it’s NOT fair.


Give Rappaport what is his!

Brian Robertson RALEIGH, NC

A no-brainer.

Rodney Welch ELGIN, SC

The situation as it stands is an absolute no-win outrage. In denying Mark Rappaport access to his work, Raymond Carney is violating a man’s sincere trust and no doubt ruining his high esteem in the critical and academic community. Mark Rappaprt’s work should be returned to him now.


Mark Rappoport is my colleague. I want to help him.


The relevance of Rappaport’s filmworks is out of the question. Besides, this is a scandal, a steal.

Niki Logis ALVA, OK

Ray Carney: why would you disgrace your entire career in order to prevent Mark Rappaport from regaining his film work? Neither greed nor petulant madness answers this question. Perhaps you have been seized by the desire to know Sin firsthand. A Nietzschean question.

Berenice Reynaud VALENCIA, CA

Trust. Mark Rappaport trusted his work to somebody he considered a friend, and his trust was betrayed. Art. Mark Rappaport is one of the most important/talented independent filmmakers making work that question the film medium as such, and his work should be made accessible to everybody who wants to see it. History. Let’s not allow a part of the history of cinema, to be eradicated. Justice.

Cornelia Kiss LOS ANGELES, CA

Because apparently Carney is a thief and I’m an independent filmmaker and know what it takes to make a film.


Mark is a fabulous documentarist, trusty as well and his materials need to be returned to his ASAP!!! SHAME!!!!

Justin Talaga CHICAGO, IL

As a young filmmaker, I stand behind the rights of all other filmmakers, especially in nightmare scenarios, like this one.


Mark Rappaport is an extremely fine film maker and his films deserve to be seen by a much wider audience, they are also the product of his own creative efforts and should belong to him

Tanner Tafelski NEW YORK, NY

Rappaport is entitled to the art he created.

Matthew Clayfield AUSTRALIA

Ray Carney thinks he owns certain filmmakers. He does not.

David Leitner NEW YORK, NY

Droit moral, moral rights of artists, are weak enough already in this country. But this is theft, plain and simple

José Alves Pereira LISBOA, Portugal

the owner is the creator not the depositary.


Mr. Rappaport’s property should be returned to its rightful owner.

José Bogalheiro LISBOA, PORTUGAL

An archive should not be a tomb. Give life to the creative work of MR.

Christine Le Goff FRANCE

To lose his film originals is a filmmaker’s worse nightmare, the erasal of an exceptional body of work. Mark does not deserve what has happened. Return his films.


Le travail d’un artiste doit être protégé de toute personne venale!


I consider Ray Carney’s one of my mentors in filmmaking, art, and life from a distance as I have never met him personally but have been a long time admirer of his work for championing American independent filmmakers like John Cassavetes, Mark Rappaport and Jon Jost. It was through his work that I came to learn of these artistic voices outside of studio approved blockbusters. His work has been extremely formative in my work as an artist and filmmaker. His current actions regarding Mr. Rappaport’s work are appalling and baffling. I will always admire his work but I cannot and will not condone and support his actions towards Mr. Rappaport. Professor Carney, please, you are destroying everything you have stood for by doing this. Please return all of Mr. Rappaport’s work immediately and issue a personal and public apology. I make this personal appeal to you as an honorary student of yours who still hopes you will do the right thing.


Because an artist’s rights are at stake–and because Jon Jost has gone through a not dissimilar experience himself.

Richard Koszarski TEANECK, NJ

Unless Prof Carney can produce a lot of serious paperwork, he needs to return this material to its creator without further delay.

Christopher J. Adams WHITMAN, MA

The theft of an individual’s art should not be defended or excused by anyone.

Patricia Kelley CHICO, CA

I too have been a victim of theft of my art, more than once. It is devastating and negates your worth as an artist to yourself and to others.


Richard T. Jameson SEATTLE, WA

Someone really should explain to Carney that he doesn’t own filmmakers.

Wendy Lidell NEW YORK, NY

Archivists and distributors exist to serve and support the work of the artists we love and respect. Carney’s actions do neither and thus attest to the fact that he doesn’t.

Aaron Gerow HAMDEN, CT

There damage here is not only to the artist, but to the notion of archiving. That hurts all of cinema.

Elizabeth Verry PARIS, FINLAND

independent artists are not alone but a large community all around the world ready to support each other

Bernard Eisenschitz PARIS, FRANCE

An artist’s right to get his own life’s work back must be recognized, even though he misplaced his trust in a false friend.

Mark Daniels FRANCE

Mark is the owner of the work he created. Not returning it is theft.

Ania Trzebiatowska NEW YORK, NY

We have to look after the most valuable things we are lucky enough to be around. And Mark Rappaport’s films are exactly that..


Free films !


Cultural heritage should be safeguarded as well as authorial ownership


Such behavior is absolutely disqualifying for any academic anywhere in the civilized world

debarshi ghosh CALCUTTA, INDIA

it is about individual rights. Ray Carney did wrong


It’s a question of ethics in the academia


I have the same problems

Candace Reckinger LOS ANGELES, CA

Return these works to the artist who made them! This is his life work, his legacy, and he should benefit from income that may be generated thru new distribution routes.


To Stop a Thief.

Shruti Ghosh AUSTRALIA

I am pursuing my PhD in film studies-performance studies. This incident is alarming to me in many ways. As a student and lover of films I am induced to join the cause.

lara hannah BROOKLYN, NY

stop the boycott of MR’s work

Greta Schiller NY, NY

Filmmakers should own their work.

Sarah Schulman NY, NY

Friend of Mark’s and filmmakers everywhere.

Richard Wilson CHICAGO, IL

Why wouldn’t it be?

Vorakorn Ruetaivanichkul BANGKOK, THAILAND

I’m filmmaker also and I want to reserve the right in the work of us.

Tony williams CARBONDALE, IL

Rappaport is not only a great film maker but also a distinguished critic. He does not deserve to be treated like this. A complaint should also be made to Carney’s Dean.


Enough is enough. Morality in academia matters, as it does in all aspects of life

Della Kweskin DES MOINES, IA

Mark is a fantastic person and deserves to have his films back!

anne marie poucet FRANCE

parcequ’il est toujours insupportable de voir un artiste spolié de son travail. La même mésaventure est arrivée en France à certain nombre de cinéastes (le dernier en date: Pierre Etaix) et que seule la mobilisation des gens de cinéma peut faire bouger les choses

Vincent Novak SHELTER I., NY

to right a wrong

Celluloid Liberation Front HELL, UNITED KINGDOM

It is a more sensible alternative to the kicking of Ray Carney’s ass…


Jay Carney sent me all of his notes, his writings, his correspondences; really, his entire life’s work. He just gave them to me. Right there on the internet. So when I publish the authorized, exhaustively researched, and definitive story of his life in conjunction with a retrospective show of all his most important lectures, lovingly reenacted by some of today’s most respected and daring performance artists, I’m sure he will be extremely proud. But I won’t give him one thin, red dime of what I make on that shit.  In all honesty, I think Mr. Carney is simply afraid. In the last 7 years, new options of distribution have developed which allow true independent filmmakers to distribute their work easily to a larger audience. This is a huge opportunity for a filmmaker like Mark Rappaport. It also must be horribly threatening to a self-proclaimed cultural gate-keeper such as Mr. Carney.

jean-pierre Garcia AMIENS, FRANCE Shame on professor Carney ! Jon Jost is right when he says : ” This is especially shocking in the so-called “independent” film world in which people struggle for years to make films, with very little if any recompense. “

Robert McChesney GALWAY, NY

It is a trust issue that has gone sour motivated by greed.


The right of an artist on his or her work should stand above everything.

yara ebrahim CAIRO, EGYPT

Why is this important? Because Mark Rappaport is as important as a filmmaker could be, and what he made is what makes him important, and what he made shall be all in his hands.


This is an appalling situation

Peter Barton NEW YORK, NY

Preserving my work as a filmmaker is important to me. Don’t want to see another filmmaker lose his legacy.

C. Mason Wells BROOKLYN, NY

I didn’t think it was possible, but Ray Carney is managing to make Mark Rappaport’s brilliant movies even tougher to see. Return the work.

Carol Klenfner NEW YORK, NY

the materials belong to Mark

Mark Rappaport is as important as a film maker could be. What he made is what makes him that important, what he made shall be return to his hands.

Matías Piñeiro NEW YORK, NY

because independent directors must have the rights to their work and no confinement of it should be allowed.

Chuck Workman NEW YORK, NY 10022, NY

In my experience, archives often take the responsibility of preservation a little too literally and I’ve found fight the original donors of the material when they ask for access, as if they’re now the keepers of that particular flame. To ask for money on top of this adds insult to injury. Prof Carney has actually been known to be reasonable and smart and should come to his senses on this outrageous act. It’s precisely the work of filmmakers like Mark Rappaport who have to be served not restricted.


As an artist and filmmaker this situation sounds like my worst nightmare.

James Benning VAL VERDE, CA



filmmakers have the right to their films unless they have sold their copyright


Mark Rappaport is a brilliant filmmaker who made the mistake of trusting Ray Carney. Carney needs to return all films/videos and any materials immediately to their rightful owner and stop stealing another artist’s work.

Mischa Deimel AUSTRALIA

If Ray Carney had any decency he would return Mark Rappaport’s materials to him so that his work would be made available for streaming.

Aaron Cutler SãO PAULO, BRAZIL

Because a filmmaker’s work always is.

Madhuban Mitra INDIA

There can be no earthly reason for any scholar to deny an artist access to his own work, as also stop the work from reaching its potential viewing public.

Rebecca Lieb NEW YORK, NY

Because Mark is a friend, and because theft is unconscionable under any circumstances, but even more intolerable when an academic commits the crime.


Protect artists’ intellectual property

Paula Massood NEW YORK, NY

These materials should be returned to their maker rather than being hoarded away in someone’s personal collection.

Thomas Elsaesser NEW YORK, NY

It should be self-evident that Anything given in trust must be returned to the rightful owner if so requested.


to see but to play blind is a social affront. what does the word cooperation mean to these (educated?) people? [rhetorical question]

Georg Alexander BERLIN, GERMANY

Mark is a highly talented filmmaker who should by all means have control over his own work , including physical possession.

Fabrice Ziolkowski FRANCE

As a filmmaker, I can only support other artists who are trying to keep some modicum of control over their work.

ricardo iscar SPAIN

Because I am a filmaker myself and know how terrible is to experience this.
sean nam CARLISLE, PA

If it’s yours, then it’s yours.


As an exhibitor I think film should be widely available and shared, but most of all I thnk that a filmmaker has the rights to his films.

Werner Schweizer ZüRICH, SWITZERLAND

Independent filmmaking needs solidarity!


Even if Rappaport was not the great filmmaker he is, he would deserve to get back his own work. In his case, this situation is specially shocking.

Dennis Grunes PORTLAND, OR

I am a poet, and creative property rights are part of one’s lifeblood.


Saddened to see a distinguished member of academia so abusing the trust, and hampering the public exposure and right to a livelihood, of a distinguished filmmaker. Mark Rappaport’s wishes are wholly reasonable and should surely be respected in this matter.

Daniel Eisenberg CHICAGO, IL

Because it’s the right thing to do.

Rahee Punyashloka INDIA

Because Rappaport as well as other filmmakers deserve their basic rights; their right to screen, and possess the films they have made as their life’s sole entity.

Matthew Ludvino LOWELL, MA

I’m hoping this turns out to be an Andy Kauffman style prank aiming to generate more interest in Mark’s work as opposed to a talented art critic completely losing his mind. Time to let go, Ray.

Arden Castillo HOUSTON, TX

To have property be taken away from an important filmmaker (or anybody for that matter), let alone be backstabbed by someone whom you entrusted those belongings to, is just not right.


Return that film Ray!!!

Zachary Padovani POUGHKEEPSIE, NY

Too often in our world is art stripped from the artist for the benefit of others.

Heiner Ludwig Ross D 20253 HAMBURG, GERMANY

I do show films since 1957 and helped to build world famous ARSENAL cinema in Berlin and METROPOLIS cinema Hamburg. The fame of these institutions comes from the work of filmmakers who created the films. Without these tremendous work film history and film as art would not exist. Who shows films is and has to be the servant of the filmmakers. Otherwise he or she will be a thief. Prof. Carney’s fame is based on the work of Mark Rappaport and other artists. He should show his respect for film art and film history by returning the films to Mark Rappaport without any demands from his side.


Seizing an artist’s lifes work in this manner is theft and is appalling. Mark is an important filmmaker and his work needs to be seen in this current cultural climate.

Martin Loiperdinger TRIER, GERMANY

public access to the work of a renowned artist

Manuel DeLanda MANHATTAN, NY

I am a filmmaker and can only imagine what Mark is going through.

Laurent Jullier FRANCE

A reliable friend told me this was unfair. Occasions to be a friend are shortening these days.


The inconsistency of Carney’s accounts of which of Rappaport’s video materials he was still in possession of and his ongoing silence in the face of the ever surmounting legal and professional consequences of his actions sadly appear to indicate a man who is no longer operating in accordance with the moral and ethical imperatives which ought to govern the actions of any person into whose custody a body of work is entrusted for archival purposes.

Wilfried Reichart D 51065 KöLN, GERMANY

the material belongs to the author. Carneys behavior is unbelievable.


We need to protect the work of Mark Rappaport.

Christine Lucy Latimer TORONTO, CANADA

It is nothing short of baffling that a trusted educator would store a filmmaker’s work and then later ask for thousands of dollars for its safe return. I’m unable to conceive of Prof. Carney’s ultimate goal here. I wonder how he would feel if his artwork was being held hostage in this manner?


In the words of Carney: a genuine national treasure,” “the greatest living American filmmaker,” and “one of the world’s great artists.”

Jack Hirschfeld HAVRE DE GRACE, MD

Art is not peripheral.

lynn phillips NEW YORK, NY

I’ve known Mark since 1980 and he has never been anything but scrupulously honest. If he says it was a loan, not a gift, I believe him.


It is the right thing to do.

Edward Dimendberg IRVINE, CA

Carney’s behavior is shameful. Rappaport is a filmmaker of singular talent. Anyone who cares about film should support him.

Mitchell Wu BROOKLYN, NY

Those materials rightfully belong to Rappaport, and Carney’s actions against Rappaport is a complete betrayal of his ideals as a film scholar.

Walter UngererCAMDEN

I believe any harmful action and injustice to anyone, when exposed, requires a public reaction in order to expose its destructiveness and hopefully rectify the offense.

Silvianna Goldsmith NEW YORK, NY

All artists must support that their work will not be stolen from them!

Bobby Abate BROOKLYN, NY

I have faith and confidence Mr. Carney will return these works to their rightful owner: Mr. Rappaport.


It’s a simple question of artist rights, control of materials, and ethics.

Emily Breer GARRISON, NY

Because I love Mark Rappaport! and it’s obviously odious to keep his films from him


Artists should control their work, period!


I have no insight in the juridical details of this dispute. I also do not feel like studying the case. There are lawyers for that. I suggest give the films to the filmmaker and then call a lawyer. Not the other way around.

Phil Solomon BOULDER, CO

Obvious reason – I’m a filmmaker.


It is saddening and disillusioning to see someone in a position to champion the work of an important artist actually get in the way of it. How much time and money has Rappaport lost to this mess?


Do the right thing. You’ve built a life through other filmmaker’s work. Give something back to the community – especially since it’s not yours to keep

Christoph Hochhusler BERLIN, GERMANY

Whatever the (mis-) understanding was in the first place, you can’t seperate an artist from his work.


This is a crazy situation: of course M.R. should have his work back. What’s happened to Ray? The situation should be resolved immediately.

Kian Bergstrom CHICAGO, IL

Carney’s actions violate any sense of decency and, more importantly, are an affront to the continuing work of a major contemporary artist. Rappaport has an overwhelming moral right to his own work, and the interests of all who claim to be invested in cinema as an art form are hindered by Carney’s mercenary and mean-spirited behavior, for they deprive a working filmmaker of a significant portion of his own medium. Give him back his work!

miguel angel martinez SPAIN

Well, I don´t want that something like this would arrive to me.

Jonathan Walley COLUMBUS, OH

This is an embarrassment to cinema scholarship, and threatens the special artist-scholar relationship that is unique to experimental film, and which benefits us all. Carney should return the work, and in doing so perhaps undo some of the damage he has done.

Bernd Luetzeler BERLIN, GERMANY

it’s just obviously very important
Alain LeTourneau PORTLAND, OR

Mark’s work represents some of the best of American independent cinema and should not be held captive by an individual who clearly has no right to these materials.

Salah Hassanpour TORONTO, CANADA

And end to all sociopathic self-promoters in academia.

Pip Chodorov PARIS, FRANCE

Helping filmmakers is my business

Elsie Walker SALISBURY, MD

For the protection of the individual artist’s rights.

Sarah Bunting BROOKLYN, NY

It’s difficult enough to make one’s way as an independent artist without having to worry about losing your work entirely.
Michael Higgins DUBLIN, IRELAND

I’m a filmmaker and feel his pain.


Film does not belong to one man, it belongs to all of us, it’s life lead by the filmmakers.

Francesca Dal Lago FRANCE

It is simply absurd and unacceptable that several years works of such an important director could be outright stolen and , effectively, become unaccessable to the whole film community. RETURN MARK RAPPAPORT’S FILMS!!!!

Clark Foldberg RICHMOND, VA

Ray Carney is a published and publishing writer/theorist whose public actions are followed by so many students and scholars of film. First it’s absurd that this man should act so cowardly when taken to court. Second, if what’s being said is true (if Carney hasn’t denied that it was an offer), it’s terrible to take part with ‘the greatest artmaker ever’ in an interaction that has clear terms – one man is given a place to put his art, the other gains the honorific of protector, with the benefits of respect and access – and fully screw the guy over. Carney’s reputation will forever bear his sneering attitude towards artists with dreams, and towards the potential film community that shares motion pictures as primitive 19th century man shared words. More importantly though, the situation is incredibly simple, and the lack of resolution is just sad. Rappaport has lost the fruits of his lifetime of filmmaking, and Carney (has lost his marbles) is with every passing moment turning himself further and further from reconciliation with the main forum for ideas and progress he dealt in. I almost feel bad for being the next, 564th cog compelled to say something, because for Carney it shouldn’t have to go like this. Just give him back the movies, dude. PS Jon Jost is my savior I will sign anything he writes for me to sign. Anything.


All the material should be returned immediately to Mark Rappaport.

Joshua Ostrander GREENLAWN, NY

What Ray Carney did just seems wrong no matter who he did it too.


Because I like justice served

will rutledge TORONTO, CANADA

give him his fucking films back.

Marc Weiss NEW YORK, NY

Mark’s materials belong to him, not to anyone else. If he wants them back, he should get them. End of story.

Angelo Simeone AUSTIN, TX

It’s unclear to me why someone who claims to publicly support an artist would give away or destroy material given to him by that artist for safekeeping. It’s also unclear to me why that person entrusted to the care of that material would hold it hostage for a fee. It’s obvious that the person entrusted to the care of the material hopes the gain something financially for it. In this day and age, an artist should always maintain control of his own work, and those who use that work for their own personal interests are clearly in it for something other than love of art.

Heinz Emigholz BERLIN, GERMANY

I do not like academic vampires.

Tom Kalin NEW YORK, NY

Mark is the filmmaker and ultimate owner of the work. All the materials held by Carney should be returned to him. I have to say I’m shocked by Carney’s behavior in the matter.

Javier Quintero BOGOTA, COLOMBIA

1. An artist has the legitimate and final right to keep the work s/he created. 2. Mr. Rappaport has the right to receive an answer from Mr. Carney. 3. Mr. Carney should show up and offer an explanation on what is exactly going on.

Adam Soule CHICAGO, IL

I am in the industry.

James Fazzaro SOMERVILLE, NJ

That’s a raw deal there, I’d never want to see a filmmaker lose their materials over a bogus “agreement” such as this.


It’s an absolute question of ethics and moral rights


I have yet seen only one of Mr. Rappaport’s films and found it wonderful. I am no filmmaker or critic, just a student with a great interest in cinema and a distaste for self-righteous academics in general. I am also desperate to use the internet for the benefit of mankind. So I’ll sign this petition and wish for the best outcome for Mr. Rappaport.

Brandon Colvin MADISON, WI

These films obviously must be returned to Rappaport, not only for digital distribution, but for proper archival storage; this is a crime against culture.

Bruce McPherson KINGSTON, NY

Professor Carney seems to have forgotten about karmic boomerang.

Giles Sherwood NEW YORK, NY

Common sense. Simple decency. Please do the right thing.



David Bratton LOS ANGELES, CA

A filmmaker’s works belong to the filmmaker, not an academic

barry gerson PRESTON HOLLOW, NY

This appears to be a case of unethical and unlawful behavior on the part of Mr. Carney.

Derek Long MADISON, WI

This is an affront to artists’ rights and the scholarly community.

Keith Phipps CHICAGO, IL

A no-brainer. Seriously.


Ray Carney needs to do the right thing.


Artists own their work unless they explicitly sell their rights. This is a criminal theft on the part of Carney

Zachary Williams BURNABY, CANADA

For too long Ray Carney has been exploiting individuals such as Mark Rappaport based on his alleged ‘status’ within American academia. Actions such as these are seriously detrimental to not only Rappaport but to the entire cinephilic community. Rappaport’s livelihood is at stake here, as is the public’s access to important cultural and artistic documents.

Daniel McKleinfeld BROOKLYN, NY

Mark Rappaport is one of the great independent filmmakers, and this is a terrible crime against film preservation.

Christina Lewis HONOLULU, HI

Art, man.

Adam Zanzie WILDWOOD, MO

I immensely disapprove of Ray Carney’s interference in the personal affairs of filmmmaking artists, and it is time he answered for them.

Matthew Seitz BROOKLYN, NY

The films belong to Mark.

Michael Hannigan CORK, IRELAND

The clear injustice. involved.

Rosanne Walsh FRANKLIN, MA

An artist’s work is his own.

Matthew Pinkerton LITTLETON, CO

I am a filmmaker and find this situation completely unacceptable.


I am an artist/filmmaker and regularly have to defend my copyright.

Jean-Jacques Birgé FRANCE

Authors have so often difficulties to get their work shown…

Geoffrey O’Brien BROOKLYN, NY

To defend the rights of artists.

greg anthon ENGLEWOOD, NJ

Carney- return the films!

Jennifer Kotter NEW YORK, NY

This extreme misunderstanding will be remedied only when all materials in question are returned to the artist in good condition. A treasure and unique artist, Mark Rappaport must have his life’s work returned to him immediately. Withholding these archives from their author is criminal.


So sad and unnecessary. A disgusting story.


As a film maker, I cannot imagine the horror of someone stealing my archives and depriving me of my ability to distribute my work.

will aitken MONTREAL, CANADA

Carney clearly got Proudhon wrong : theft is not property

Montse Pellicer SPAIN

Some people think they can do whatever they want, with no respect for others


That Mark Rappaport deserves the immediate return of his materials remains one of the few clear and discernible facts surrounding this debacle.

Louis Salvas WARWICK, RI

Perhaps his claim of unfair treatment regarding the Cassavetes films which he found is warranted on a certain level.

Donald Liebenson HIGHLAND PARK, IL

the salvation of an artist’s life’s work


Art before ego.

Randall Danson BROOKLYN, NY

I value Mark Rappaport as an artist but more importantly for being an inspiring example to all artists who struggle and do without in order to dedicate themselves to creating work that is outside the norm and true to their own hearts and souls. We are lost culturally without such people. And theft is theft.

Luke Holmaas FARGO, ND

Because I believe in the freedom of information, and in providing access to works of art (especially films), and I am appalled by the dictatorial behavior of this academic as he violates every principle he supposedly stands for (or should)


Mark deserves his stuff back, plain and simple.


Hey Carney! Give Mark Rappaport his masters and materials back!

Sandy Flitterman-Lewis HOBOKEN, NJ

Mark Rappaport is one of our most significant contemporary filmmakers and his work should be available to all. First step: Liberate the materials. Second step: a Traveling Retrospective. Third step: Establish worldwide acknowledgement of MR’s art and importance to film.


Because Rappaport’s film’s are important to my work.

Jason Mittell E MIDDLEBURY, VT

Ray Carney is clearly an egomaniac (see his site at ) and needs public shaming over his actions.

Erik Hammen SEATTLE, WA

Render unto artists what is artists’

Sara Driver NEW YORK, NY

I have always admired the work of Mark Rapport and hope the rest of the world gets to see it. His work should be returned to his hands. Why Ray Carney has any right to hold onto this great filmmaker’s life work is not understandable at all and is a terrible injustice.

Susan White TUCSON, AZ

This theft of Mark Rappaport’s films and other artistic work must be punished!

Thomas Elrod CARY, NC

Mark Rappaport deserves control and ownership over his own films. Carney, apart from acting ridiculous, is also acting unethically and immorally.

james medeiros LINCOLN, AR

if believe in free library for all not few and jesus, it his personal shit innit.

Tom Scarlett ROCKVILLE, MD

Justice for an innovative artist.

Stuart Liebman NEW YORK, NY

Withholding an artist’s materials for ransom? C’mon, what is Carney thinking?


It’s theft, as far as I am concerned

Laura HerrmannASHEVILLE, NC

These films are a national treasure and everyone should be able to continue enjoying them. I believe in preserving films and Rappaport deserves to have them back.

Girish Shambu BUFFALO, NY

Mr. Carney: Your reputation as a ‘friend’ is nearly destroyed. Save your reputation as a scholar and critic by awakening to your crime and returning Mark’s films immediately.


I question why Boston University has not spoken out on this matter. Surely they don’t support Prof. Carney’s unethical and illegal action.


scholar and cinephile

Shane Ford HOUSTON, TX

We, as viewers and participants, are already faced with plenty of obstacles from the mainstream to make or view real art in film. This is most disturbing because this essential theft comes not from a studio or a “usual suspect” but from someone who was a champion of these works, someone from the inside. It’s time to give the work back to the artist.

Caldecot Chubb LOS ANGELES, CA

Integrity and justice.

Leonardo Paulillo ROMA, ITALY

It should be not considered a gift something that could have a value of 27.000$! Everybody knows that real “gift” has no value!

Graham Swindoll BROOKLYN, NY

Rappaport deserves his work back, and what is being done to him is a horrifying violation.

Scott Smith MALIBU, CA

huge supporter of independent and experimental film


That creation belongs to the his creator: Mark Rappaport. And he needs his stuff. He has the right to ask and to get his work. No way.

Eduardo Martinez PHARR, TX

I became an admirer of Mark’s when I first saw “Rock Hudson’s Home Movies”. Hearing about this situation has saddened me. This great artist should get his work back.


Mark Rappaport is an independent artist. Those works are his entire life. Furthermore, Carney is directly preventing those works from reaching a wider audience.

John Finlay FRANCE

The artist’s work belongs to the artist. Period.


Without documentation of a transfer of ownership, no one should be able to outrank the creator of a work of art in the matter of ownership. Let Professor Carney prove his own ownership or revert all of the items to the creator.


Artists’ moral right to their works must be protected against the greed and vanity of the powerful.

Nicholas Middleton HAMAMATSU, JAPAN

If he wants them back, there shouldn’t be any obstacles put in place. That said, I think those close to him should stage a reverse-heist. Let it be known that I endorse this stunt should it be pulled off.


As a film critic, I think it’s scandalous to cut off an artist from his work


Because I’m a film studies academic and I don’t think film studies academics, or anyone else working with artists, should behave like this.


It belongs to M. Rappaport and represents the work of all a life.

Alix de Montaigu75002, FRANCE

An artist owns what he creates

Nicole Brenez PARIS, FRANCE

And as a bonus, please give back also the first version of “Shadows” to Gena Rowlands.

Stacia Kissick Jones MANHATTAN, KS

It is clear this material was not given as a gift to Mr. Carney. In light of this, Mr. Carney should return these items to Mr. Rappaport as soon as possible.
Michael McWay LEMOORE, CA I love Carney, but I don’t understand his behavior here at all. Please return Mark’s films.


I believe that artist has the right to possess his work and share it with everyone. Carney by hoarding Rappaport’s material (and thus preventing the ownership/restoration/distribution of Rappaport’s life work) is infringing on this basic right of one of the great film artists, and must be stopped from continuing to do so.


No need to explain. He is a thief.

Christopher Sieving ATHENS, GA


herb shellenberger PHILADELPHIA, PA

Please return Mr. Rappaport’s work.

Godfrey Cheshire NEW YORK, NC


Greg Giles OAKLAND, CA

Something similar to this happened to me once with a former colleague. Even if Carney has a remote chance in court, human decency and the urging of more compassionate friends, film lovers, artists, and intellectuals should move the man to return Rappaport’s work without the sad recourse of legal action.

Tom GunningCHICAGO I, IL

this is both an ethical and aesthetic issue: return of property and support of major artist having access to his work


There is no justification for Ray to not return the works of Mark!


“What the teacher is, is more important than what he teaches.”― Karl A. Menninger

Matt Langdon LOS ANGELES, CA

It’s time for Ray Carney to do the right thing. If you respect the films you need to also respect the filmmaker.

Thomas Hutson WILDWOOD, MO

Prof. Carney should be held accountable for his bad behavior and prosecuted for his crimes.

Jesse Richards GRANBY, MA

This kind of leeching off of a filmmaker cannot go ignored. Return the films.


Absurdist Video Art supports this action and denounces artistic inside job egotistical behaviors such as displayed by Ray Carney

Jonathan Shapiro LOS ANGELES, CA

Carney’s behavior is inexcusable, and he’s proof that the tenure system in American post-secondary institutions is a pox on learning.


As a visual artist, writer, and sometime film maker, I don’t wish to see another marginalized artist deceived by yet another cultural gate keeper.
Tony Pipolo MASPETH, NY

Carney’s behavior is inexcusable; films should be returned immediately.


As a graduate of Boston University and an independent filmmaker, I deplore any one improperly keeping the work of a filmmaker from the artist. Hand them over, Professor.


i would hate to have my films stolen for “academic reasons.”

Aaron Novick NASHVILLE, TN

I care about film. I think that sums it up.

Matthew Smith COLUMBIA, SC

Carney’s behavior in this situation is unbecoming of an academic, a critic, and cineaste. To deny access to the films of Mark Rappaport not only to the filmmaker himself but also an audience is simply unconscionable. The materials should be returned to Rappaport and this nonsense should be put to rest.

Caveh Zahedi BROOKLYN, NY

I love Ray Carney. He’s my favorite film critic of all time. Obviously, something inexplicable is going on. I just hope Ray is okay and that Mark gets his films back.

Vicki Whitworth OCHELATA, OK

I believe these items should be returned to the rightful owner, mark Rappaport. I would want mine returned. It’s the right thing to do and should be done.

Peter Nellhaus LITTLETON, CO

An artist should not be deprived of rightful ownership of his art.

Edward Smith MINNEOLA, FL

Ray Carney should exercise the necessary humility and moral courage to do what is unquestionably right. It’s never too late to begin repairing the damage caused by past misjudgments. I’m sure the recognition isn’t lacking. Now all that’s required is to act.

nehdi mohamed TRYON, NC

Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. It’s very important. period


As a graduate of Boston University and an independent filmmaker, I deplore any one improperly keeping the work of a filmmaker from the artist. Hand them over, Professor.


i would hate to have my films stolen for “academic reasons.”

tom chamberlin PORTLAND, OR

I am a film/video maker and out raged that a university professor could get away with stealing Mark’s film materials.


The creation belongs to the creator.


I admire and enjoy Rappaport’s work as a filmmaker, and it’s my belief that all artists should have access to their own work, as well as ownership rights in regards to it. On top of that, this is theft, which I do not abide or support when perpetrated against individuals.

Jason Costanzo AUSTIN, TX

Have admired both parties for many years. Carney’s confounding hypocrisy is disheartening, and I support Mark Rappaport’s efforts to reclaim his work.


Fairness, ownership

Joshua Thorson TROY, NY



Artists don’t need any more hardship than they already have. Shame on you Ray Carney.

Jason Bernagozzi ROCHESTER, NY

As an artist I find these actions reprehensible.


Because I’ve had work stolen from me and been refuse payment for my work. But nothing so egregious as this outright theft. Ray Carney should be jailed and Boston University should seriously consider whether such a person is a desirable employee.

Dan Madigan NEWBURY, MA

Simply, it’s the right thing to do. A thief with a college degree, doctorate or tenure….is still a thief..


Robbery is wrong


Much as I’m tempted – as many of us are – to make this about some of the ill will that Mr. Carney has … inspired in some of us, from time to time, the issue seems pretty clear-cut to me: he has things belonging to Mr. Jost, he’s being asked to return them. Period. No delays and no ransom.

david linton NY, NY

an artist’s work is like his flesh… so separation is tantamount to murder… etc

Kent Jones NEW YORK, NY

Mark is the filmmaker and he deserves to get his masters back – pure and simple.

Wendy Keys NEW YORK, NY

Ray Carney has severely violated his pact with Mark Rappaport and must return his materials immediately.

Marianne Dissard PARIS, FRANCE

Justice, respect, compassion and art.

Jacob Cole AUBURN, AL

Non-mainstream filmmakers face enough hardships without their supposed admirers trying to extort them.

Kristin Thompson MADISON, WI

Obviously all this material should immediately be turned over to Rappaport. If Carney has no sense of decency, he might at least consider the damage his actions have and will cause to his standing in the academic community.

Bruce M. Foster NEW YORK, NY

I worked for Collective For Living Cinema back in the day. We had the pleasure of screening some of Mr. Rappaport’s films. What Mr. Carney is doing is extortion, plain and simple. He’s hoping for a pay day. He should be running in fear instead.

Michael Goodman CAMBRIDGE, MA

Mark Rappaport is a unique and interesting filmmaker who deserves to be seen. Carney’s possession of the work does not seem conducive to this. Plus, the artist is the creator of these films, he should be allowed to use them to gain income, or at least try and get the work and thus his efforts appreciated.


If there is no contract present, then NTM, Carney. We call backsies.

monika treut HAMBURG, GERMANY

it’s a crime to strip film auteurs from their right to use their creative properties


Mark Rappaport’s films are criminally undervalued, fascinating pieces of work and the work of a true artist. The world needs access to these films, archivists need to be able to properly preserve and restore them and DVD’s need to be made. That they are being held this way breaks my heart.

Jim McMahon NEW YORK, NY

Please return the films!

Caroline Koebel AUSTIN, TX

I was just reading about Mark Rappaport’s film From the Journals of Jean Seberg (in Jonathan Rosenbaum’s Essential Cinema) and thinking that I wanted to see it the first chance I got. Let the filmmaker control this vital matter of access; return to Rappaport his rightful authority!

Aaron Hillis BROOKLYN, NY

Professor Carney knows better than this, and this is hardly the first time he’s acted out with less than professionalism or dignity. Come on, Ray, do the right thing.

La Création de chacun est inaliénable !!!!

Ken Jacobs NYC, NY

To help protect the work of one of our best film-artists, and to see that it’s properly returned to him.

Katherine Dieckmann NEW YORK, NY

Mark is such an important filmmaker, and was a friend back when he lived in NYC. This is a sickening situation. I hope Ray Carney, whose work on Cassavetes I have enjoyed, will do the right thing.

Howard Rodman LOS ANGELES, CA

Mark Rappaport has created an extraordinary body of work. The person who controls that body of work should be Mark Rappaport. It’s as simple as that.

roger dean FT LAUDERDALE, FL

art belongs to the creator

coleen fitzgibbon NEW YORK, NY

Mark Rappaport is a fellow filmmaker

Nathan Marone ASHEVILLE, NC

Haven’t seen a single Rappaport film. Maybe if Carney gives them back, I’ll have a better chance of seeing as many as possible.

Frank Mosley ARLINGTON, TX

it’s just not right what’s happening to any artist.

Lawrence Helman SAN FRANCISCO, CA

Thievery and dishonesty is a crime.

Rich Vaughan AUSTIN, TX

I have always admired Carney’s support for the arts, so it was shocking to hear of his shabby treatment of one of America’s great artists.


These materials are of historical significance in the entertainment industry and the circumstances under which these items have been denied access cannot go unnoticed by the film community!

Melanie Arwin NEW YORK, NY

Artists should own their art

Sherry Hocking NEWARK VALLEY, NY

I have been a part of the independent media arts community for 40 years. Preservation of work in a responsible manner is the only way future generations will understand their moving-image heritage.

Martine Habib WOODSIDE, CA

This situation seems very close to theft. The author’s rights should be protected.

Lorenzo Taiuti ROMA, ITALY

because it seems a right cause

Dylan Pasture LYNDHURST, NJ

Our artists are important, and the critical community should be working in collaboration with them, not feeding off of them for their own selfish gain. Mr. Rappaport’s work should be treated with the safety and integrity it deserves.

Martin Koerber BERLIN, GERMANY

Assuming Ray Carney was acting as an archivist who wanted to help Mark Rappaport when he moved out of the country, let me say as a fellow archivist that the right of the artist to withdraw, for whatever reason, and certainly for the reason of making the works more available, should be stronger than other considerations.

Nathan Marone ASHEVILLE, NC

I have never seen a Mark Rappaport film. How will Carney help me amend this situation? Not by holding the films hostage.


Artist own their own work. Return these films to Mark now!

susan seidelman NEW YORK, NY

As an independent filmmaker myself, I understand the importance of having control of your own work. This is Mark Rappaport’s legacy and a source of income for him.


Clearly, these films are the intellectual property of the creator, Mark Rappaport. So that these films can reach a wider audience, they must be returned to the person who created them asap.

Susan Gerhard SF, CA

Mark Rappaport needs his films back!


Mr.Carney should return Mr. Rappaport’s material’s or provide a clear and substantive reason for why this is not possible. Absent either of those two events, it seems clear to me that his attitude here contradicts his stated opinions on similar matters regarding the importance not only of Mr. Rappaport’s work, but Mr. Carney’s own view of the significance and even necessity for such works to be available to be seen as witnessed by his arguments surrounding the alleged earlier versions of Shadows and his fight with the Cassavetes estate. Mr.Carney’s failure to act in this instance casts considerable doubt over a great deal of his previous statements and work.

David Raphael Israel LOS ANGELES, CA

Assuming Jon Jost’s description of the situation vis-a-vis Mark Rappaport’s work to be a substantially accurate summary, I should like to voice support for a just and proper resolution, as proposed.

Carolyn McCaffrey CHARLOTTE, NC

protecting artists and their works


hmm, how about “THOU SHALT NOT STEAL” …?? These are very valuable and beautiful films, key documents of American independent cinema and it’s important to make sure they survive!

Richard Herskowitz EUGENE, OR

Ray: apologize, return the materials, and start rebuilding your former reputation as a champion of truly independent filmmakers.


Because Ray Carney is a hack critic and a thief and while one of those may be opinion, the other is true.

Patricia Herrmann TRYON, NC

I believe that an artist’s work belongs to the artist unless he has sold it. Mark is. in the truest sense of the word, an artist who has created important work with very little financial return. There is an opportunity for his work to be appreciated by more film lovers, he deserves that, THEY deserve that.


The ownership of Mark Rappaport’s films is Mark Rappaport. In the course of my long activity as film programmer for various institutions, I always dealt with Mark Rappaport- one of the leading American film-makers- in all the varied spectrum of publicity, distribution and rights. It’s a shame that a scholar can deplete Mr. Rappaport of his work by claiming ownership of materials that belong solely to its author.
Bill Curran BROOKLYN, NY

Protecting the rights of the artists.

Jeffrey Skoller BERKELEY, CA

This horrifying story of betrayal further erodes the relationships of trust and mutual enrichment between academic scholars/critics and the creative artists on whom scholars depend.

Joshua Ralske NEW YORK, NY

It’s only fair that Rappaport should have his work returned to him.

John Shumate ARLINGTON, TX

I learned about Mark through Ray. Mark’s work deserves as audience. Ray’s strange tyranny must end.


I’m a Rappaport fan. Followed the affair since day one. It’s fair that Rappaport gets his films back.


Mark Rappaport is a brillant, innovative & avant garde artist. His work is vital to film’s cultural history.
Harvey Waldman NEW YORK, NY

Just making and getting any kind of distribution for Independent Cinema is hard enough. Even the very possibility that the important films of Rappaport or Cassavettes might become inaccessible to the viewing public is tragic and unacceptable. A film scholar as knowledgeable as Carney should know better and should be ashamed to be any part of making these films difficult to see.

Allison McCulloch LOS ANGELES, CA

Mark Rappaport is an amazing filmmaker that needs to have access to his works that he owns. The theft by Ray Carney is deplorable. The sooner his materials are returned, the better.

Matthew Fisher DES MOINES, IA

These great films must be returned to the great filmmaker who made them.


As a filmmaker we trust people who claim to help us get our films seen. I had always


Imagine Ray’s storage lockers, a Xanadu of independent treasures, hoarded and boarded up from sight, but to what end, and for whose benefit?

Charles Taylor JERSEY CITY, NJ

I’m a film writer and a teacher. This is unpardonable, larcenous behavior and both communities are discredited to have Carney among them.


For the freedom of creation

David Davidson TORONTO, CANADA

It’s theft. Is peoples property no longer sacred?


Ray Carney’s actions are exploitative and criminal and severely undermine the trust between filmmakers, scholars, and academic institutions.


Do the right thing, Ray Carney…


It should be rather obvious.

Keith Uhlich NEW YORK, NY

Mr. Rappaport’s films belong to Mr. Rappaport. And as things stand, he is being prevented from sharing his work with viewers. Please return the materials.

Claire Aguilar OAKLAND, CA

I believe that Ray Carney should return Mark Rappaport’s films to him.


I have a lot of respect for Carney’s writing on film, and always will, but I can’t defend his behavior in this situation. He’s had enough time to provide reasons for his actions but as of yet has remained silent. If you care about your integrity or for Rappaport on any level, return the films. There’s no other moral option.

Miquel Martí Freixas SPAIN

Mark Rappaport, a great cinema writer, a very original and unique creator of films, and a very nice and sincere person. We read about all this affair and we are very sad about that facts. We desire the best for him, all our support from Barcelona, Spain. http://www.blogsandocs


An artist’s right to his/her own work is an important issue in terms of an artist’s freedom of expression; to be denied the right to that work is a denial of an artist’s expressivity. Though this is common practice in the commercial film industry, to encounter this situation in the context of independent film and academia is deplorable.


Please, Mr. Carney, if you really want Rappaport’s films to receive wider recognition and appreciation, return them to him.

Monte Hellman LOS ANGELES, CA

I’m a filmmaker, and can personalize empathize with this horror.


It has been both saddening and disturbing to learn of this matter. I hope that no other living artist has to suffer through a similar situation with regards to access to their own work.

Robert Tuscani WINTER PARK, FL

Because I am an independent filmmaker who has similarly been screwed. Return the film to the artist.


Mark Rappaport is one of the most important voices in American filmmaking, and his contributions to the art of the video essay, in particular, have had an indelible influence on the landscape of contemporary arthouse cinema. The loss of any art to the callous whims of an unscrupulous charlatan would be disagreeable; the loss of Rappaport’s would be a national tragedy.

Thomas Prieto NEW YORK, NY

The cinema of Mark Rappaport needs to be returned to him and thus saved from Ray Carney.

Philip Tatler KNOXVILLE, TN

Unless freely given, intellectual property belongs with the intellect that created it.

David Ehrenstein LOS ANGELES, CA

A great artist’s work has been stolen.

Ryan Sarnowski MILWAUKEE, WI

It’s hard enough making independent films. It’s even harder if the people you thought you could trust, those who have championed your films, hold your material hostage.

Dean Treadway ATLANTA, GA

This is an outrageous travesty of trust, and the most ridiculous crime I’ve ever perpetrated on a great American filmmaker.

Fco Javier Soto del Toro SEVILLA, SPAIN

Although Ray Carney must have been put his signature over “A film by Mark Rappaport” with a pen, these materials should get back immediately to his original creator.

Martha Nochimson RIVERDALE, NY

Respect Mark’s work; respect your own place in the academic community. Have some dignity, be a man, and restore the films to their rightful owner.


Mark Rappaport is a nice guy, and doesn’t deserve to be treated badly.

Paul Hiller BROOKLYN, NY

Keep drama in the art

Yann Beauvais CARROLLTON, TX

Send back the work to Mark.

Rich La Bonte BAY HEAD, NJ

Art theft is a serious crime. Artists must be protected from thieves and opportunists.

Barry Norman HARPSWELL, ME

I know too well how Ray Carney operates.

Paula Arantzazu Ruiz MADRID, SPAIN

Say no to ‘pillaje’. Please Ray, return to Mark his own cinema.

Adrian Martin Professor MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA

The great cinema of Mark Rappaport needs to be saved from the selfish, hoarding, unproductive hands of the clearly deranged and evil Ray Carney.

Richard Robinson ORANGE, VA

Mark Rappaport should have his films returned immediately.

su friedrich BROOKLYN, NY

No one but the filmmaker has the final right to their work, so there is no excuse for not returning work to the maker if they request it.

Meredith Brody OAKLAND, CA

It’s unconscionable that a supposed “caretaker” is preventing an artist from accessing and profiting from his own work.
Angel Rueda SPAIN

We demand Ray Carney return Mark Rappaport´s Films immediately.

Robert Peabody RICHMOND, VA

Carney is being unfair and unreasonable.

tag gallagher CHESTNUT HILL, MA

MR has a right to his films!

Kristin Alexander WOODS HOLE,,

MA Back to rightful owner please.

jeff steiner MADISON, WI

because it’s HIS work.


Artists rights to their work need to be respected. This is the theft of Mark Rappaport’s life work which is an insupportable betrayal.



It’s important; it just is. Ray should return films that aren’t his, nor do they belong to him, regardless of how long he took care of them.

goro toshima LA, CA

without a doubt, mark is the rightful owner of his own footage/material. and he deserves to get his work back.


Ray Carney is the greatest film critic I’ve ever read, and his books have had an incredible impact on my life. But his actions here are indefensible, and truly distressing. I hope he’s able to see the nature of what he’s doing and change his actions for the better.

Casey Pegram ROSWELL, GA

This is an unfortunate and sad chapter in the life of an otherwise admirable critic, one which may tarnish his legacy and ostracize him from the filmmaking and critical community. He has only himself to blame, however, for this unacceptable behavior. Mark Rappaport’s films must be returned to Mr. Rappaport immediately without any further stalling and evasion from Mr. Carney.

Kari Banta AUSTIN, TX

This behavior on the part of Carney is destructive to Mark Rappaport and his films. Holding Rappaport’s work for ransom like this is a criminal act.


If in the coming weeks, Professor Carney does not respond to this public exposure and the expressed opinions of his peers, and return Mark Rappaport’s property to him, further steps will be taken to place pressure on him – including moving to find adequate grounds for Boston University to terminate his tenure.  I personally would prefer to see the matter end quickly with the return of Mark’s materials.  But if Professor Carney insists on remaining recalcitrant whatever further steps are required will be taken. 

A big thanks to Daniel for all his time and help in pursuing this.

From Mark Rappaport’s Casual Relations




To go directly to the petition click here.

In 2005, when Mark Rappaport moved to France, Ray Carney, tenured professor at Boston University, eagerly offered to take materials of Rappaport’s and store them – 16mm prints of films, digital masters, some original film and video materials, and drafts of  scripts. In 2010, Rappaport requested some of his video masters back, which Carney obligingly provided. In 2012, after having received several offers for streaming his work, Rappaport asked for the return of all of his materials. Carney did not reply and refused to answer emails or phone calls. When Rappaport hired a lawyer, Carney did not show up for two hearings before a judge. At the third hearing, when he claimed everything was “given to him as a gift,” he also swore under oath that he had given away or destroyed much of the material Rappaport originally entrusted to him. When required, at a fourth hearing, to supply an inventory of what he had, Carney listed, again under oath, absolutely everything that Rappaport had entrusted to him. In other words, he would willingly lie under oath to deny Rappaport access to his work. Carney then offered, in a personal email to Rappaport, to strike a deal. He would return to Rappaport his own films—for $27,000. Carney previously called Rappaport “a genuine national treasure,” “the greatest living  American filmmaker,” and “one of the world’s great artists.”

Professor Carney’s refusal to return Mark Rappaport’s materials – for which he has no written and signed document to support his claim – is an affront to all filmmakers and artists, and those who support them: critics, exhibitors, archivists and viewers.

We, the undersigned, demand the immediate return of all of Rappaport’s materials to its rightful owner, Mark Rappaport. We deplore Carney’s usurpation of these materials. Carney has no rights to these films nor was he ever granted ownership of them. His refusal to hand them over is an act of self-aggrandizement at the expense of a filmmaker whose work he claims to value.  In preventing Rappaport’s access to his own work, he deprives him of his ability to reach a wider, new audience via streaming, and causes him considerable financial hardship as well.  It also sets a low for moral behavior on the part of an erstwhile “supporter.”

This is an appalling situation which we demand Carney rectify by returning to Mark Rappaport all of his materials.  This is especially shocking in the so-called “independent” film world in which people struggle for years to make films, with very little if any recompense.

Professor Carney asserts that he is “generally recognized to be the leading scholarly authority on American narrative art film,” and has been an energetic supporter of such film making.   Let him show that he truly values this filmmaker, and his work, and promptly return Mark Rappaport’s property to him.*



It is with great reluctance I take this step; however Ray Carney has thus far been impervious to personal appeals and it appears that only some kind of public pressure will bring him around to decent behavior.   I encourage everyone interested in the independent and artistic film world, or in the arts in any realm, to join in signing this petition.   Please do go to the petition site and sign.  If you are institutionally based, if you will, note what institution.  If a filmmaker, or active person in the film making community, please indicate your role.  If an interested spectator that too – after all we make these for you.  Please post information as to this petition and the situation which called for it as widely as you can.

I hope this public action will prompt Ray Carney into doing the right thing and to return Mark’s material to him promptly.   If not, however, further steps will be taken to secure for Mark his property and I will look for your support and assistance in doing so.   If Mr Carney does not promptly act in a positive manner I will commence publishing the letters which he wrote me earlier in this year in using me as a conduit to publish his long diatribe against BU, and will commence serious steps to see that Professor Carney finds his tenure revoked.


Mark RappaportProfessor Raymond Carney, Boston University


* For complete information on this matter see:


Casual Relations


From Local Color



I hesitate to use the familiar, as I had in the past. You should understand why.

I write this, short and simple, as a last effort to get you to understand the error of your ways, and to promptly return Mark Rappaport’s materials to him, with no further explanation or evasiveness. As you surely are aware the story of your actions with regard to Mark is now widely known – since I published Mark’s letter on my blog, there have been well over 10,000 “hits” – far beyond my usual readership. I have received now many notes from filmmakers and others, offering their help in getting Mark’s material back to him – to sign a petition, or more. I have also had word from a handful of former students of yours and some others who have appreciated your writing – some began to defend you, but as time passed they changed their view. (See for example,

I do not know what animates your actions – I would like, as bad as it sounds, to think you’ve just gone over the edge psychologically and mentally, and that you seriously need treatment of some kind. I guess I’d rather think that than the other option, which is that beneath the high-flown words about ethics you used in the letter I published at your behest, is a person who is duplicitous, unfathomably self-absorbed and “evil.” Not a nice thing to think of someone, but then when the shoe fits….

Shortly I will publish a petition on my blog site, along with an internet mechanism for people to sign up. Along with its being published here, it will be sent out on a far wider basis to numerous interested email lists, Twitter, and all the rest of our contemporary “social networking” tools. It already has a number of rather famous filmmakers ready to sign – Bela Tarr, Atom Egoyan and many others. And of course American indies and experimental filmmakers.

If this does not persuade you to return Mark’s materials, I will proceed to print the correspondence we had early this year – one which abruptly ceased exactly the time your situation with Mark deteriorated into legalisms. And, I will make a serious inquiry with Boston University what behaviors would provide legal grounds to terminate your tenure. I’d rather not do these things. I’d far prefer that you immediately make arrangements to promptly return Mark’s materials to him, and that you issue a sincere apology for incurring all of this.

It’s your choice.


Jon Jost

 From Impostors

Who, me?

Photo-montage by Mark Rappaport

This week, along with many others, I received a notice from Mark Rappaport detailing circumstances involving elements of his work – specifically DigiBeta tapes of his work, along with papers and such items, which he’d left with Ray Carney, Boston University Professor, Cassavetes expert, and enthusiastic promoter of so-called “independent film.”   I’ve known Mark since the 70’s, and also have known Carney for some time.  Here’s the notice:


September 2012

To all filmmakers, film critics, film archivists, film academics, curators, festival directors, and film enthusiasts everywhere—
I am writing to you because something very unforeseen, very unexpected, and most unpleasant recently happened in my life,
When I moved to Paris seven years ago, I had to decide whether or not to take with me copies of my films, video masters, early drafts of scripts, duplicates of reviews and announcements, etc. When I mentioned this to Ray Carney, tenured professor at Boston University and author of several books on John Cassavetes and who also claims he is “generally recognized to be the leading scholarly authority on American narrative art film,” he eagerly offered to hold all of my materials. I accepted his offer, with the understanding that he would return them to me upon request and that they remain at BU. Five years later, in 2010, I requested the return of some of my video masters to make copies of them for various film archives in Europe. Carney duly returned those video masters to me. They were in excellent condition.

Since that time, various companies have expressed interest in streaming my films, and UCLA, in conjunction with The Sundance Institute, have volunteered to archive video masters of Sundance alumni films. In early April, I made several requests to Carney for the return of my materials. I sent Carney several e-mails (to various e-mail addresses), and I called his home and office and left numerous messages. Carney ignored all of my attempts to reach him. As a result, I hired a lawyer and filed a lawsuit in Massachusetts, where a judge issued a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction against Carney. The court entered a default against Carney (who had not responded to my complaint) and ordered Carney to return the materials to me, or else be held in contempt of court. After that, Carney hired a lawyer who stated Carney intends to defend his conduct by arguing that I “gave” him the materials outright as “a gift.”

There is much at stake here for me. Without the digital video masters, my films, everything prior to 1990, Casual Relations, Local Color, The Scenic Route, Impostors, Mark Rappaport—The TV Spin-Off, Chain Letters, plus the High-Definition version of Exterior Night, cannot be made available for streaming, commercial DVDs, video-on-demand, or any electronic delivery system down the road. My life as a filmmaker, my past, and even my future reputation as a filmmaker are at stake. I gave Carney no rights to my materials except the right to hold them and return them to me on request. His lawyer has refused to disclose the current location of my materials.

Carney tried to cast doubt on the truthfulness of the inventory I presented. Furthermore, under oath, he stated “some of the items I received I no longer have because I gave them away to third parties. I discarded other items due to the degraded and unusable condition they were in when I received them. Finally, I discarded other items at later dates after they were worn-out by the normal wear and tear of being used.” This is sworn statement from Carney who, earlier, on his website bragged, “Mark is a great friend and gave me almost everything he owned when he left New York for France… So I am now the ‘Mark Rappaport Archive.’ I have the largest collection of material by him in the world: file cabinets and storage bins full of amazing things: production notebooks, film prints, rough drafts, revisions, scripts, film stock, DVDs, tapes, notes, jottings, journals, etc. etc. etc. It’s a dream come true for me and one of the major film collections by one of the world’s greatest artists. All being preserved for posterity at any cost.” (PLEASE NOTE: If this interests you, go to the website before this entry is removed.)

Elsewhere, he describes me as “a genuine national treasure.”

The judge, at a pre-trial hearing, demanded that Carney supply the court with a full inventory of what he still had, what he gave away, and what he destroyed. Carney subsequently delivered a full inventory—which included absolutely everything I gave him. None of it had been given away or destroyed. Although he clearly had perjured himself, I was ecstatic to learn my materials were intact. After four and a half months of this, Carney got in touch with me to propose a deal, saying, “I sincerely wish you well and I am sorry this issue has come between us.” “I am willing,” he writes, to “ship everything back for a modest consideration, simply to cover my costs and the time and trouble of having stored the material for the past seven-and-a-half years.” In return for my own films, I was to pay him $27,000! Some may call this extortion, I call it merely outrageous. Just to put it in perspective, that would equal 3 years of the monies I get from Social Security. To continue the suit to trial would have cost me about the same amount, in addition to the thousands I had already spent. I couldn’t afford to continue.

Just when I filed for a dismissal of the suit, Carney demanded back, because he claims they were part of “the gift” I gave him, the video masters that he returned to me in 2010—namely From the Journals of Jean Seberg, Postcards, Exterior Night, and John Garfield.

I’ve heard somewhat similar stories from other filmmakers, although none quite as breathtaking as this.
For a variety of reasons, I think this is a cautionary tale you might consider emailing to colleagues, friends, and acquaintances who are interested in the conservation and protection of works by non-mainstream filmmakers, film preservation in general, and archiving not just films but film-related artifacts of the recent past by independent filmmakers. Please feel free email this letter, post this on Facebook pages, and submit it to various blogs.

If you want to write about this situation, I have much more information.
Mark Rappaport

Last winter, at his request, I printed on  a long long “letter” Ray Carney had written regarding his (mis) treatment at Boston University.  At his request, colluding with him, I went along with the charade that I’d just received this letter and chose to print it on my own.  I included some comments of my own on my own little academic career and an experience I’d had at BU.  In my view his letter was far too long winded to be effective, and suggested to me a person rather obsessed.  In fact I did not read it all, nor do I imagine anyone else did.  Perhaps I should have taken more serious note of this.  After the blog was published I was in contact a few times to inquire what fall-out he’d had there from it.   There seemed little.  And then 5 months or so ago (April 4, 2012), after writing him again, I received no reply.  And likewise to a few other emails sent, one on the morning of the day I received Mark’s notice.

Since then I’ve written him 3 times, requesting a reply, and an explanation of Mark’s notice.  Again, no reply.  I take this silence as indicative that Mark’s story is true, and that Ray, for reasons presumably best explained by him, can’t respond.  Along with some others, who also know him in one way or another, I speculate that he’s slipped off the range of what we’d normally call “sane” and into another self-enclosed space where he unreachable to reason.

Ray Carney, 1995, in happier days

In the past years I have met a good many of Carney’s ex-students, all of whom found him an excellent and stimulating teacher, someone who truly touched and changed their lives.  I’ve also met others, in other areas of the artsy film/critical world,  who have suggested that he’s a troublesome person given to stirring up hornets nests and that they have themselves steered clear of him and advised me to do so.  I know aside from his tangle with BU, he’s also tangled with Gena Rowlands over Cassavetes’ film Shadows. I am not interested enough in this to have bothered to have followed it, or read anything about it, so I don’t really have any view.   In sum he’s left a trail of mixed reviews, which, in my view, is to be expected from anyone who is passionate, takes unpopular stands, and so on.  I know from personal experience since I myself trail such a reputation, whether warranted or not.

Why Ray would act in the manner described in Mark’s letter, alienating a person whom he has praised to the skies and championed, I cannot fathom.  And of course, in turn he has shredded whatever reputation and credibility he had in the independent film community – the filmmakers, critics, programmers, all of them – in taking such actions.  I cannot imagine what he could think he would gain in doing so.  So I must conclude, in a way charitably, that Ray has slipped into some mental twilight zone, and does not perceive the damage he is inflicting, and has inflicted on himself.   In some way it is explicable to me, given the stresses of his years long combat with BU, and with Rowlands.  It must take its toll, and it appears it has, and he’s tipped over into terra incognito.  My guess, even though I don’t actually think such things work, is that he’s in need of some dead serious therapy work.

Here are the letters I have written Ray in the last days:

[Sept 6, 2012; morning, before I received Mark’s letter.]

Hi Ray

Not having heard from you for a long time I wonder how you are etc.  I’ve just finished shooting 2new narrative things in Butte and am hitting the road shortly to shoot for the essay film.  One of the new ones I think will be very good, the other not so sure.  C’est la vie.

Anyway drop me a note, however short, to let me know you’re OK etc.  School started again.  More hell?



[Sept 6, 2012, after getting the internet letter from Mark.]


Is the attached remotely true?  Or what is your version of this story?  I sort of don’t care what it is, though perhaps this entanglement explains why you haven’t answered the last 2 or 3 of my emails asking how you are.

I don’t know the whole story I suppose, but I’d suggest that you return all of Mark’s things – prints, papers, tapes – everything.  Without any conditions or argument.  If you don’t, and quickly, your credibility in the independent film/arts and academic world will be totally shot.

I’d like an answer.

I’ll be posting the letter on cinemaelectronica in 24 hours.

I hope it isn’t remotely true.


[Sept 7, 2012.]


Mark’s letter is out, and spreading.  I don’t wish to see you hurt or hurt yourself, but if you don’t act, and fast, your reputation is going to be in shreds.  How about an answer?


[Sept. 8, 2012]


Not having heard from you my better nature would like to think it is something benign – that the email system doesn’t work, things like that.  The realist side says something else: that you don’t reply because you don’t want to, or in some way, psychologically, you can’t.

I am in touch with Mark, who advises that an attempt to intervene and get this settled is in his view useless, but I’ll give it a try.  I’d like to see him get his work back, promptly, with no further hassle.  I’d like to see it done with no further damage inflicted on you – which at this point is probably pretty considerable: it’s a very ugly story seen from Mark’s letter, and it sort of jibes with other stories that circulate around you.  If indeed you are holding his material, and its gone to lawyers, and you don’t have a hard contract from him – which the legal story suggests you do not – and you are relying on that old legal maxim “possession is 9/10ths of the law,” then you’ve painted yourself pretty deeply into your own corner.

Let Mark know you will promptly return all his material.  Unless you have a contract signed by him stating that he agreed you would charge him $4000 a year for the service of holding his materials, drop the $27,000 demand for payment; otherwise you are blackmailing.  If it makes it easier for you, I will inquire with some archives, with Mark’s consent, to see if one of them would be willing to take hold of the material, and foot the cost of shipping.  I don’t think Mark can afford it – this kind of filmmaking, as you should know, is not exactly a fount of money-making wealth.  And besides, he shouldn’t be having to foot that bill.

We artists, whom you have championed in your books and public voice, are an odd bunch.  We tend to be “sensitive” and often all too trusting.  I know I have been in my life, and severely burned for my bother.  Though I am still highly trusting, only because I prefer to live that way.  I lived in Italy some time, where the national (Roman) motto is “Fidarsi bene; non fidarsi meglio.”  “To trust is good; not to trust is better.”   They live that way, and my observation is that it makes for a collective and individual unhappiness.  Which makes sense.  As Shakespeare had it, “Et tu, Brutus?”  Who needs waiting for your best friend/supporter to slip the knife in your back?

Back in winter, when you asked me to print your BU letter on my blog, I did so.  Frankly I thought the letter was far too long and detailed, and that few would actually read it.  It suggested someone – you – obsessively wrapped up in your provincial battles, so much so that you lost that thing which artists must have to work effectively: a sense of perspective, scale, proportion.   In your battle with BU you lost that sense, and it shows in that letter.  Meantime it seems you’ve gone on to other battlefields, where you’ve done the same.

I can’t assure you in any way that it would “turn things around,” but it would be a step in that direction, and morally and ethically it is the right thing to do:  let Mark know immediately you will return his materials, and take immediate practical action to do so.   I will inquire with a few archival people I know and see if they will be willing to receive the materials on his behalf if it is OK with him.

If instead you choose to try to hold on to his work and materials, you will gain nothing from it, and you will definitely lose one friend: me.  And I will do whatever I can to see Mark’s work is returned to him.  As you’ve noted yourself, I am a tenacious soul, and when I take something on I see it through.  I did you a favor last winter.  Now you do me, and yourself, one.



[Sept 9, 2012]


Not having heard from you, I’m not exactly sanguine about the odds on hearing from you now.  You seem to be in hiding, in denial, caught up in a web of unhappiness which appears largely of your own making.  I’m not the only person who imagines you might have slipped off the realm we customarily call sanity and into something else.

The hole you’re in now is pretty deep.  I’d suggest you cut your losses to what they already are – and at this point I’d judge they are pretty serious – and try to recoup.  You need to start by returning Mark Rappaport’s materials to him, promptly, no strings attached.  And issue a statement of apology for what you have done, whatever the cause – a misunderstanding, or a pathological shift from being an enthusiastic supporter to imagining you are owner of things which are not yours.

It’s your choice.  Silence will only confirm the worst.

I’ll be posting Mark’s letter, and my own commentary on this whole matter, tomorrow on cinemaelectronica unless I hear from you with something positive regarding this whole matter.  And failing a positive and constructive response from you, now, I will help initiate an international campaign to get you to return Mark’s work as quickly as possible.  If this ends up being required, your reputation will lie in far more tatters than it already does.

I am sorry to have to say all this.  I am far sorrier that what you have done, on your own, requires having to say it.  You can lessen the self-inflicted damage by correcting yourself now, or you can dig the hole ten times deeper by digging your heels in.



All of the above elicited no response from Ray.  Emails didn’t bounce back so I presume they still function.  Some other friends and former students inform they’ve also sent emails, to no response.  My personal conclusion is that Ray Carney has, in some form, had a mental breakdown and very likely is in need of serious help.  My instincts lead to compassion –  if I were in Boston and I knew where he lived I’d be at his door.  I know nothing at all of his personal life, whom his friends are or if he has any.  Or a wife or companion. I don’t know.

I do know he’s run a great blog at BU, one that engendered a large and long on-line conversation among filmmakers and interested parties, until it was closed down by BU; that he’s written many books and done research and from an academic viewpoint was highly respected.  And I know he’s had a positive and formative impact on many students.  All to the plus side.  On the other side is his reputation as a cantankerous and argumentative soul, who, in my view tends towards hyperbole and exaggeration, though that is a common matter among people who are in some way propagandists and fighting for transparently minority positions – a kind of necessary rhetorical flaw required simply to be heard above the din of capitalism’s worship of fashion and money-making “popular” tastes.  Ray’s tastes are most frequently at sharp variance to mine, as are his (as with many critics) announcements of “the best” of whatever.  I have a distaste for such listings, always wanting to interject, “have you seen everything, and if not how about amending that phrasing to ‘of what I have seen’ (which is .001 percent of what I am declaiming about), and how about changing that ‘best’ to ‘what I like’?”   Places things in perspective, which critics seem, as part of their job hazard, to often lack.

Mark Rappaport

Mark moved to Paris some years ago, and having never talked with him about it, I don’t really know why.  Though I suspect it was for similar reasons that have found me out of the USA for long periods:  in our increasingly commercialized culture, where the only thing that is allowed to “talk” is money (see the Citizens United ruling of our corrupted Supreme Court; see our national politics; see what is allowed to be reviewed in our corporate news organizations, see Jeff Koons, etc. etc.), support for arts which do not embrace the concept that the only thing worth anything is, yep, money, is, shall we, minimal.  In that good old American maxim, “Money talks and bullshit walks.”   I am 100% sure Mark is not rolling in dough from the proceeds from his work.  Nor are any of us who make work remotely in this realm of making films as “art.”  If we make anything at all it is by teaching, or doing the occasional workshop, or things like that.   Of those I know, those not teaching tend to live hand-to-mouth.    Ray Carney knows all this, which makes it all the more imponderable that he’d demand of Mark $27,000 in “storage fees” to get his work back.  Does Carney have a written agreement to such effect?  I am 100% sure the answer is no.   Nor has he any written contractual paper that Mark “gave” him his work.

What Ray Carney has done is unconscionable, and flies in the face of his long support for independent filmmakers.  It flies in the face of the teaching he has done, and, well, pretty much everything he has stood up for in the past.  So it makes one wonder.

Still, that leaves Mark holding an empty bag, and a sour taste in the mouth.  To be clear – as word out on the net hasn’t been quite so clear: what Ray Carney has of Mark’s are his papers, and DigitalBeta tapes of his films.  He does not have the originals, which are dispersed around a number of institutions, MoMA, Eastman House, the Cinematheque in Paris.  For those unfamiliar with some current film-world realities, getting new digital copies, aside from the hassles of getting the materials from institution X to a lab, would cost roughly $2,400 to make another DigiBeta copy (HD, which is what ought to happen – see this – is far more costly).  This is beyond Mark’s means, and is needless in any event: Carney has those tapes.  For current purposes the tapes have much more utility  –  for streaming or other modes of distribution, than do the prints and/or originals.  Though ideally the films should be transferred to 2K HD, though economics likely dictates against this occurring.

As unfortunately can be seen in Carney’s non-response to the letters I have sent, as well as those others have sent, he seems unapproachable by the avenue of reason and evidently to the simple matter of instinctual logic: this is Mark’s work, his livelihood, and it properly belongs to him.  Carney’s non-response makes pretty clear he has no legal or on-paper accord with Mark for holding this material, and he seems to be caught in that legalistic item I mentioned, “possession is 9/10th of the law.”  The preliminary court ruling seems to affirm this.

As Mark has noted, he couldn’t afford to pursue the legal procedures (something with which I am painfully familiar), and left dangling, he’ll be out tapes of his own work, and in a practical sense, given all the economics of the matter, minus an ability to turn his work into something that can be seen, or even make some marginal living income from it.

Hopefully Ray will come out of his self-imposed isolation and will seek whatever care and treatment he evidently needs.  Hopefully he will see the error of his ways and without further ado return Mark’s materials, and promptly.

If, however, he does not, I think public pressure needs to be applied and if things haven’t altered to make it unnecessary, I will – hopefully in conjunction with others (let me know if you can help: contact me through if you will) – commence an organized, public, social net-working process of such a kind that will make Carney’s losses far exceed whatever imagined gains he thinks he secures in keeping Mark’s work in his hands.

If you read this, Ray, please just return Mark’s full materials, a.s.a.p., and spare yourself any further damage.   If you don’t, you will find your horizons constricted in ways you cannot imagine.  I deeply regret having to write this, and I hope for a resolution that quickly restores Mark’s work to him.  And I hope you find whatever psychic reserves are needed for you to see the profound error you have made, and to promptly correct it.


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