*A filmmaker has sued Beyonce in New York claiming the HBO trailer for her “Lemonade” special was copied without permission from his short film titled “Palinoia,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The plaintiff, Matthew Fulks, identifies himself as both an independent filmmaker as well as the creative director at Louisville, Kentucky-based news station WDRB, where he says he “conceptualizes, writes and directs” their TV spots.
In the complaint, Fulks lays out how he believes the defendants (including Sony Music, Columbia Recording and Beyonce’s Parkwood Entertainment) gained access to “Palinoia.”
Fulks says he was contacted about the opportunity to direct a video by the Columbia-signed musical group MS MR, and as a result, links to “Palinoia” were sent to others including Bryan Younce, who has created videos for Beyonce and has been credited on her self-titled 2013 album. The lawsuit claims that in July, 2015, Younce requested Fulks’ email and would send the plaintiff a note acknowledging that he had received his “info” with invitation to submit a treatment for consideration by Columbia.
Five months later, the filming of the “Lemonade” trailer and film began.
Specifically, the complaint cites nine visual similarities comprising 39 seconds of a 60-second trailer. The images allegedly taken come without any linear narrative raison d’etre. The visual similarities are “graffiti and persons with heads down,” “red persons with eyes obscured,” “parking garage,” “stairwell,” “black and white eyes,” “title card screens,” “the grass scene,” “feet on the street,” “side-lit ominous figures,” all adding up to a supposed total concept and feel substantially similar to the short film.
Below, the “parking garage” similarity:
Fulks is demanding all profits attributed to exploitation of his work including from sales of the “Lemonade” album. A representative for Parkwood Entertainment hasn’t yet responded to a request for comment.
Below, the “Lemonade” trailer and the “Palinoia” short film to compare and contrast: