THE LEGAL CASE
- In March, 2016 Dame Carol Kidu launched a legal case against director of “The Opposition” Hollie Fifer, Media Stockade and later adding Beacon Films claiming that the defendants had engaged in unconscionable conduct and breached a contract with Dame Carol.
- At the beginning of filming in 2012 Kidu had signed a standard Participant Release and was actively engaged in the filming throughout multiple stages of the production process over a period of 3-4 years.
- However, in 2016 she argued that she had been misled into participating in what she thought was simply a school project concerning her political career including her time as Opposition Leader.
THE TEMPORARY INJUNCTION
- “The Opposition” was due to screen at the world renowned festival Hot Docs, Toronto mid 2016.
- At a pre-trial hearing (an ‘interlocutory’ hearing) at the Supreme Court of NSW, Justice Slattery placed a temporary injunction on footage in the film in which Kidu appeared or which she had facilitated. This was in place until a full hearing could be scheduled – or the parties could agree on a settlement.
- The filmmakers were forced to create a redacted version of the film in order to get the film to Hot Docs.
- To legally get the film to Hot Docs the film team got creative to comply with the court ordered temporary injunction.
- The team used black screens with white text stating over the injuncted footage whilst actress Sarah Snook narrated action that we could not show.
- The redacted version of the film was well received at Hot Docs.
- Here are the links to the temporary injunction Judgements:
April 22, 2016
April 29, 2016
- Once back in Australia the film team then had to go to a full court trial to argue their case and try to get the original film back.
- The defendants in the case were Hollie Fifer, Media Stockade and Beacon Films.
- One interesting piece of evidence which came out in the court case was that Paga Hill Development Company indemnified Kidu for the court case costs (ie they funded the legal challenge not Kidu)
- Throughout the court proceedings the film team worked tirelessly to run the case in collaboration their incredible legal supporters Peter Bolam - Solicitor, Richard Potter - Barrister, Mark Maconachie- Junior Barrister
- After months of litigation, Justice Rein resoundingly ruled in favour of Fifer, Media Stockade and Beacon Films.
- Here is the link to the final judgement:
We won the court case and won the right to screen the original version of the film. The filmmakers were also awarded costs and damages.
This legal dispute raised questions about freedom of speech as well as the viability of independent film production. For more information, please view the news section of our website: http://theoppositionfilm.com/news
“The documentary appears, to the lay observer at least, to contain a compelling human narrative, to be well finished and to be a fine example of the documentary maker’s craft.”
– Justice Slattery (Kidu v Fifer & Ors  NSWSC 488 – 22nd April, 2016)