Alexandria Mayor looks forward to re-establishing work with Cypress Moon

By  | November 27, 2012 | Filed under: News

Alexandria, LA Mayor, Jacques M. Roy

ALEXANDRIA, LA – Mayor Jacques M. Roy issued a statement yesterday pledging to help Cypress Moon Productions film “The Story of Bonnie and Clyde”. The statement was conditional on filmmaker Tonya Holly’s promise to commence filming in the Southern Louisiana city by late January or early February.

Wanting to put to rest the “City’s angst about filming”, Mayor Roy stated that the City Attorney and Cypress Moon are negotiating on terms that would make both parties comfortable with one another.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Filmmaker Tonya S. Holly

The Quad-Cities Daily interviewed Holly last Sunday morning. she indicated that she was prepared to refund the $50-thousand that was advanced to her company by the City. The refund notwithstanding, she pledged to begin filming at her Studio in Sheffield, Alabama before Christmas and then move on to Alexandria for a 2 week-long location shoot there. She told this reported that she would be in production there before February 15. The Alexandria Mayor’s Office originally stated that Holly must begin shooting before the end of January. It is not clear at this time which date is operative. Mayor Roy was not available for comment as he is out of town at a national conference of Mayors until Tuesday, December 4. In Roy’s statement, which was emailed to the Quad-Cities Daily this morning (Tuesday, 11/27), he stated, “We would welcome the return of the funds, now, and but I believe if cypress (begins filming) as agreed it is entitled to the funds.”

 

 

 

The Quad-Cities Daily contacted Ms. Holly’s long time business partner, Tom Rogers, for his thoughts on the controversy. “We worked the original agreement out with the former Mayor of Alexandria,” he offered. Rogers said that Roy, who came into office after the agreement had been reached in 2007, “doesn’t get it,” indicating that the spirit of things between the City and Cypress Moon somehow got lost in the transition. Rogers said that Roy is a bit “hard nosed”, but is glad that things are seemingly getting back on track. He said he looks forward to meeting the Mayor and mending fences. Rogers is excited about “The Story of Bonnie and Clyde” and said, “I certainly support Tonya, and look forward to everything we have planned for the future.”

Here, in it’s entirety is the media release that Mayor Roy’s Special Assistant Jonathan Bolen emailed to The Quad-Cities Daily:

“CITY OF ALEXANDRIA, LOUISIANA

MAYOR JACQUES. M ROY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 26, 2012
City of Alexandria, Office of the Mayor

CYPRESS MOON FILM PROJECT

According to Cypress Moon It Intends to Begin Filming and Refund Incentives

Alexandria, Louisiana -Today, the Alexandria Town Talk contacted this office to inform it that
Cypress Moon Productions, Inc. had informed a newspaper in Alabama it intended to refund
the incentives advanced by Alexandria and begin filming the awaited feature on the notorious
gangsters, Bonnie and Clyde. According to the Alabama report, Cypress Moon disputes who
first raised financial incentives-and, notably, the timing of incentives. The local newspaper has
requested comment from the City on the latest article from Alabama.

When the Mayor informed the newspaper writer in Alexandria the story had essentially
been done on lithe same or similar claims,” the newspaper informed that Cypress Moon’s
intent to return the funds and start filming before Christmas as well as whose idea originated
the timing of funding to help the project were important and merited a follow up. Reluctant to
comment, the writer informed the Mayor, “Call me story runs Tuesday.” The Alexandria
newspaper has had the actual agreement between the parties since the story recently ran in
Alexandria on or about November 15, 2012. The agreement was published and has been a
public record since 2009. In response to the story, this press release is being provided to
Cypress Moon, Inc. and the Alabama journal in an effort to put the parties lion the same script.”

Mayor Jacques Roy stated, after reading the Alabama story at the request of the
Alexandria paper, today, lilt seems like the parties are getting back on track, and we look
forward to working with Cypress Moon. I know the City Attorney and Cypress Moon are working out some
guarantee language and an assignment to get past the City’s angst about
filming. We would welcome return of the funds, now, and but I believe if Cypress films as
agreed it is entitled to the funds.” The mayor and staff further discussed the issues and provide
for the public the following findings:

1. The story in Alabama and the Alexandria story do cover nearly identical claims. The
Administration for Alexandria does not think reporting that tends to pit parties
against one another will add value to the issues and can harm the delicate
relationships created in this industry, but the city is compelled to state what the
events leading up to today demonstrate and note similar agreements have been
done and finished with little fanfare. Cypress’s vision for its film has met tough
challenges and the officials monitoring the cooperative endeavor understand those
issues, as documented by relevant trade journals in L.A.

2. Second, officials look forward to re-establishing work with Cypress Moon when it
begins to film.

3. Thankfully, the executed contract speaks to “the deal” that was done.

4. The mayor and staff have spoken with numerous persons present at the two
meetings discussing the timing of payment, including the Executive Director of the
CVB. While Cypress Moon’s characterization of the process might not be accepted
by those present with the mayor and other stakeholders when discussed in
Raceland, Louisiana, and at City Hall, such a differing view is of no moment to
Cypress Moon or the City of Alexandria given the clear terms of approved fund use
in exchange for clear deliverables present in the agreement. Because of this, any
negative accusations do not serve the parties who have worked hard to make this
happen, especially Cypress Moon, and therefore the City will not “answer back” to
allegations the contract speaks to beyond what is here. Why?

5. Mainly, Cypress Moon has stated its intent to return the funds and film in Central
Louisiana, so the parties can now sit back and wait to receive back the funds and
enjoy the film, or agree to the unconditional guarantee and assignment. In either
case, the taxpayer is protected even more.

6. Also, the contract provided a timeframe to shoot and for updates from the
filmmaker who received the incentive. The contract states:

a. {(Between required performance reporting dates, Contracting Party shall
inform Contract Monitor of any problems, delays or adverse conditions which
will materially affect the ability to attain program objectives, prevent the
meeting of time schedules and goals, or preclude the attainment of project
results by established time schedules and goals.

b. “Contracting Party’s disclosure shall be accompanied by a statement
describing the action taken or contemplated by the Contracting Party, and any
assistance which may be needed to resolve the situation.”

7. Thus, the contracting party, Cypress Moon, had an affirmative obligation to inform
and provide the city with plans to remedy.

8. Early on, Cypress did stay in constant contact with the monitor about the issues
faced and the attempts to remedy the issues. Cypress provided detailed accounts
to officials regarding goals and timelines. Cypress suffered a series of issues with
actors and stakeholders associated with the film. Officials sympathized with
Cypress, and granted additional time.

9. When this was not done satisfactorily for the monitor and city attorney, the city
defaulted the contracting party in 2010 as a protective measure to the taxpayer­
but, importantly, the parties kept working together. While filing a lawsuit was an
option for the city attorney’s office and conveyed as such in the 2010 default, the
city attorney eventually made a determination, along with the monitor, to advise
the mayor to grant more time given the contract in place and ability to receive
repayment by other means. Simply put, filing a suit would not accomplish any goal
and could alienate an important industry that officials were charged with
attracting-especially when there was no need to use such a non-business-friendly
remedy.

10. In January of 2012, among other media discussions, the film was set to begin
apparently in Alabama as stated in the article, titled “Filming for Selma,” in the
Selma Times Journal, at which time filming was said to be imminent. Other places
to film included Mississippi and Louisiana locations. According to Bill Hess of the
City of Alexandria’s office of Economic Development, Cypress Moon always claimed
it would film throughout the south, but “it was the ‘production spend’ in the
Alexandria, Louisiana region that merited the incentives, not merely filming in
Louisiana generally or other places.”

11. The monitor and city attorney felt litigation would ensure no film would be made
and wanted to give Cypress Moon every benefit of the doubt given the repeated
assurances by its principal filming was imminent. The mayor therefore never
authorized pursuing litigation, and has not to this day authorized litigation.

12. The city’s funds were advanced for the filming and creation of a certain “production
spend down” in the community. The film has not commenced. The contract
monitor is further obligated to ensure “any missing deliverables” are gained by the
city. The city attorney is doing so. The “production estimate spend”-with 10%
leeway margins-was the central deliverable contracted by Cypress Moon. It
appears that spend may be modified, which would further cause problems with the
agreement.

13. The City of Alexandria is keen to the issues with filming independently and the
financing challenges, and therefore gave years of leeway to the contracting party;
however, in the first week of November 2012, the senior staff and Mayor requested
follow up by the City Attorney. By chance or perhaps because other film initiatives
were being discussed, the Alexandria reporter asked about the film’s progress on
November 14, 2012.50, while the City was following up prior to the Alexandria
reporter’s request to comment, it was not doing so in a way to embarrass or harm
Cypress Moon. Finally, it is notable that, as reported by the Alabama journal, the
interview given by the Mayor was at a briefing at which time reporters can ask any
questions, on any topic. A full view of the briefing will indicate that while the Mayor
answered the questions directly, he indicated he thought the film would be made
and that the incentives were Cypress Moon’s if compliance with the agreement
occurred.

14. The Mayor appreciates the issues surrounding filmmaking and wishes Cypress Moon
only success. The city desires to help Cypress Moon produce the film and will
continue to work with Cypress Moon pursuant to the terms of the agreement.

******

Contact:

Albin A. Provosty

Special Assistant and Counsel to the Mayor”

 

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