A screening of filmmaker John Greyson’s 1991 short The Making of Monsters was cancelled within hours of its Sunday-evening presentation at the Art Gallery of Ontario because of a long-standing copyright dispute over the songs.
The film, about anti-gay violence, parodies songs by the late composer Kurt Weill (including Mack the Knife).
Although the songs have been in the public domain since 2001, Greyson says music publisher Warner-Chappell has acted to prevent their use because Weill’s estate objects to the fanciful depiction of Weill and Bertolt Brecht as gay fish.
The Canadian Film Centre, which owns the film, said it had made a newly mastered digital print of the film, hoping that Warner-Chappell’s issues with the film could be resolved.
In the end, it wasn’t. The film was to be shown as part of a weekend retrospective of Greyson’s films co-presented by the AGO, Vtape and the Toronto International Film Festival.