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Tommy Pallotta, producer of Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly, has released his new film, American Prince, directly into the bit torrent file-sharing community. The film is a sequel to Martin Scorsese‘s little-seen documentary American Boy, which amounted to almost an hour of actor Steven Prince telling tales, reportedly true tales from his life, to a small audience of friends. One of these stories was used in Pallotta’s Waking Life, in fact – retold by Prince and then converted to the digitally rotoscoped style of that film. Another formed the basis for one of the most memorable scenes in Pulp Fiction, and I’ll include Prince’s version of that story at the bottom of the post.

Pallotta has told Torrent Freak that he sourced much of the archive material used in American Prince from the internet.

Yes we used material from BitTorrent and YouTube for American Prince and no, we did not license them. I did receive the master copy of American Boy from Steven Prince himself, but we found a copy via BitTorrent that was better than that copy, so we used that! Plus, there is some confusion as to who actually owns the rights to American Boy. Part of the motivation of this film was to get a proper release for Scorsese’s American Boy. I felt this film would help uncover who has the rights and hopefully get it in front of a larger audience.

I wonder what Scorsese would have to say about that? I’ve heard a rumor that Criterion have been preparing American Boy for DVD release for some time, and I don’t think they needed Pallotta’s piracy-powered prompting.

When I saw American Boy it was played as a double with Itallianamerican, back in the mid 90s. I guess there were only about twelve or fourteen of us in the auditorium but there was an audible reaction when Prince recounted the following story:

I managed to get a lot of medical supplies. We had adrenaline shots to bring you through when you OD. And this girl once OD’d on us. She was out [clicks his fingers]. I had a medical dictionary. You know how you give a adrenaline shot? The adrenaline needle is about that big [shows how big with his hands] and you gotta get through the heart. And you have to put it in a stabbing motion [demonstrates motion] and then plunge down. I got the medical dictionary out, looked it up. Got a Magic Marker, made a Magic Marker where her heart was [laughter], measured down two or three ribs and I went…HUH! [stabs down] and then [plunges his imaginary syringe] and then she came back like that! [He clicks his fingers] She just came right back like that.

Here’s an interesting quote from the Pallotta interview, particularly in light of the Pulp Fiction moment described above:

Steven Prince is a gold mine of future cinema scenes and I hope a whole new generation of filmmakers will understand how he has influenced American Cinema.

You can download American Prince now, and as long as you don’t attempt to profit directly from it, you’re allowed to remix and redistribute it.

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