EXCLUSIVE: Producer Amy Williams has filed a breach of contract lawsuit against Waheed AlQawasmi, the writer and director of upcoming indie feature Jacir, starring Lorraine Bracco.
The suit also names WAFilms, the production company behind the film. AlQawasmi has hit back, describing the complaint as “without merit”.
In the complaint, filed in the Chancery Court for Shelby County, Tennessee, producer Williams claims that AlQawasmi wrongfully removed her name from the film as its lead producer and has failed to pay her the promised compensation for her work on the project. According to the filing, Williams says AlQawasmi approached her in 2016 to help produce the film originally titled My Friend Jacir.
The suit claims that Williams procured funding and cast members for the movie, including Bracco, who stars in the film’s lead role. The film completed production in December 2020, at which point the suit claims that AlQawasmi “manufactured” a contract breach on Williams’ part and “without any cause and without providing notice” terminated her involvement with the film.
Williams claims that AlQawasmi made several “false and misleading statements” about her performance to uphold the termination notice, all of which she has denied.
The suit also includes several alleged complaints about AlQawasmi’s conduct on set. According to documents, Williams claims that on “multiple occasions” AlQawasmi “exhibited inappropriate behavior towards members of the cast and crew.” The suit also states that AlQawasmi “consumed alcohol in excess and asked members of the crew for controlled substances” during production.
AlQawasmi and Mariana Trevino are currently listed as the sole producers of Jacir on IMDb. The film is set to hit select theatres on March 24.
Williams stated to us: “Two months following completion of Jacir, Waheed revoked all of my film credit, refused all compensation, and denied the six percent profit share I was promised. He and former set COVID officer Mariana Trevino, whom I recruited, are actively promoting, and selling the film as the only producers, taking credit for my contributions.”
She added: “Trevino joined the crew just before film was to be shot and was given a co-producer credit in good faith for dealing with SAG paperwork and COVID-19 protocols. This was tiny budget, and we were all wearing many hats.”
Jacir is an English and Arabic language feature that follows the life events between Jacir, an orphaned Syrian refugee who settles in a rough neighborhood in Memphis, and Meryl (Bracco), an opioid-addicted ultra-conservative shut-in who is fearful of immigrants and minority families in her area. An unlikely friendship develops between the two, as they both learn that they have more in common than they thought.
In a statement to Deadline, AlQawasmi and the production described Williams’ lawsuit as baseless and refuted any suggestions of “inappropriate behavior” on set.
“The allegations of Ms. Williams’ lawsuit are without merit. Jacir Movie, LLC denies that Ms. Williams was improperly terminated and is confident that the evidence will bear this out,” the statement read. “Due to Ms. Williams’ actions, Jacir Movie countersued her for breach of contract, breach of the implied duty of good faith and fair dealing, and for a declaration that Ms. Williams is not entitled to ‘produced by’ credit due to her failure to fully and faithfully perform all of her services and obligations under the Producer Agreement.”
In a separate statement, Trevino said that she is also a financier on the film.
“In the film industry, it is important to maintain a professional demeanor and reputation. Accusations and negativity can have a detrimental impact on people’s reputations and future opportunities; as such, it is important to gather all the facts and hear both sides of the story before jumping to quick conclusions or unfair judgment,” Trevino’s statement read.
Jacir is AlQawasmi’s feature directorial debut, following a series of shorts and music videos. He produced the 2010 feature documentary Hometown Glory, directed by Ray Costa.
Williams is a PGA member and produced the 2016 drama Mothers and Daughters, starring Courteney Cox, Selma Blair, and Sharon Stone. Other credits include Rock, Paper, Scissors (2017), A Dark Foe (2020), and the forthcoming Rally Caps, starring Oscar nominee Judd Hirsch (The Fabelmans).
Trevino was a producer on the animated TV shows Spike Team (2010) and The Psammy Show (2019).
Depositions took place on Dec 5 and 6. The litigation is ongoing.
The post Producer Amy Williams Files Lawsuit Against Filmmakers Behind Indie Drama ‘Jacir’ Starring Lorraine Bracco appeared first on Deadline.