In what is surely the most interesting entertainment story I've read this week, an independent filmmaker named Stephen Tramontana is claiming that Quentin Tarantino ripped him off. It seems Tramontana made a movie called Grindhouse for $4,000 bucks in 2002. It was released in 2003, and won Best Horror Film at the New York International Film and Video Festival. Before shooting had even begun, Tramontana and his film's producer briefly spoke with Tarantino about it at a party, asked if he'd watch it when they finished, and QT politely declined. When it was done, Tramontana sent the film and poster to Tarantino's production company anyway. It was signed for, but he never heard back from Tarantino. Cut to 2007, and the Tarantino/Rodriguez Grindhouse. Now Tramontana is angry. Over at the website for the 2003 film, therealgrindhouse.com, you'll discover that Tramontana is very serious, saying: "Quentin Tarantino is a thieving piece of shit and he knows it. He stole Grindhouse from a bunch of kids who were just asking for his help and he helped them by stealing their title and concept." Whoa!
Tramontana says that Tarantino always talks up the movies he's going to do far in advance and that he never heard a peep about QT's Grindhouse until 2004, after the 2003 Grindhouse had been sent to his door. Tramontana's claims are interesting, but even he seems to realize they won't hold water, especially not in court. Apart from the title and I suppose the fact that they're honoring the same genre, the two films have absolutely nothing to do with each other. My immediate thought was that this guy was doing it for the cash, but to counteract that claim, he's planning to donate all profits from the film to an independent film fund. Considering the movie can be downloaded from his website for 99 cents, that's probably not going to amount to much, but it definitely paints him in a more flattering light. And hey, stirring up the "scandal" is working: He's already getting a lot more exposure for his film.