Last night it was brought to our attention through a series of social media posts by Cartoonist Adam Ellis that the film Keratin from Andrew Butler & James Wilson of Backbone Films – published on Directors Notes on Friday, 8th January 2021 – was an uncredited adaptation of Ellis’ comic strip.
They emailed me in October, when the film was making festival rounds, & asked me to HELP PROMOTE it. When I told them I didn't approve of it and asked them to pull it from festivals, they ghosted me for months. Now they've premiered it on @WeAreDN, & don't even credit me by name. pic.twitter.com/H0FY3zZdEt
— Adam ElIis (@moby_dickhead) February 1, 2021
Upon discovering this we immediately reached out to Ellis to discuss the matter further (via Instagram DM) and to Butler and James (via email) asking them to clarify the situation – to which they
declined to comment at this point in time Update: Backbone Films have now released a statement – and removed the interview from our pages.
For clarity, we would like to state that Directors Notes was in no way involved with the creation of Keratin nor have we profited from the film’s existence. We are however regretful to have used our platform to help promote the film. Had the full facts of its genesis been made clear to us at the time we would have declined to run the interview.
As has been pointed out by many commentators, when asked about Keratin’s inspiration Butler and James’ response: “The original concept was inspired by a short online cartoon we saw which we developed further” fails to credit Ellis as the creator of the original online cartoon, nor does it detail the email conversation the filmmakers had with Ellis or his request that they pull the film from festivals.
We take our work here at Directors Notes extremely seriously and it has always been our mission to provide creators with the recognition they deserve. While we had no reason to believe that Keratin was an uncredited reproduction, we unreservedly support Ellis’ right to challenge the unauthorised exploitation of his work.