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"Desired" Director Zenovich Responds To Polanski Prosecutor's "Lies"

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire October 1, 2009 at 4:53AM

Marina Zenovich, director and produced of last year's doc "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired," has released a statement regarding retired Los Angeles County prosecutor David Wells' decision to come forward yesterday and allege that he lied on camera during the filming of Zenovich's doc. Wells - who advised Polanski's judge back in 1978 - said in "Desired" that he spoke to Superior Court Judge Laurence J. Rittenband before sentencing and told the judge that Polanski deserved prison time. Yesterday, he told The Los Angeles Times that "hat was not true... I like to speak of it as an inept statement, but the reality is that it was a lie.”
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Marina Zenovich, director and produced of last year's doc "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired," has released a statement regarding retired Los Angeles County prosecutor David Wells' decision to come forward yesterday and allege that he lied on camera during the filming of Zenovich's doc. Wells - who advised Polanski's judge back in 1978 - said in "Desired" that he spoke to Superior Court Judge Laurence J. Rittenband before sentencing and told the judge that Polanski deserved prison time. Yesterday, he told The Los Angeles Times that "hat was not true... I like to speak of it as an inept statement, but the reality is that it was a lie.”

Wells said that he made up the story, "believing that the documentary would never been shown in the United States."

Today Zenovich released a statement in this regard.

“I am perplexed by the timing of David Wells’ statement to the press that he lied in his interview with me for the documentary 'Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired,'" she said. "Since June of 2008, the film has been quite visible on U.S. television via HBO, in theaters and on DVD, so it is odd that David Wells has not brought this issue to my attention before."

Zenovich said that the day she filmed Mr. Wells at the Malibu Courthouse, he gave her a one-hour interview. "He signed a release like all my other interviewees, giving me permission to use his interview in the documentary worldwide," she said. "At no time did I tell him that the film would not air in the United States."

She went on to say she is "astonished" that Wells has changed his story. "Mr. Wells was always friendly and open with me," she said. "At no point in the four years since our interview has he ever raised any issues about its content. In fact, in a July 2008 story in The New York Times, Mr. Wells corroborated the account of events that he gave in my film... It is a sad day for documentary filmmakers when something like this happens.”

Roman Polanski was taken into custody by Swiss police on Sunday regarding the 1978 U.S. arrest warrant for having sex with a 13-year-old girl. Polanski was flying in to receive an honorary award at the Zurich Film Festival when he was detained late Saturday at the airport, organizers at the festival said in a statement. Zurich police since confirmed the arrest, but have refused to provide more details because he said it was a matter for the Swiss Justice Ministry. Switzerland and the U.S. have an extradition treaty dating back to the 1950s that is still in force.

For a more extensive detailing of Polanski's arrest and potential extradition to the United States, check out indieWIRE's previous coverage, including an a petition urging his immediate release. Over 100 people, including Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, Wong Kar-Wai, Pedro Almoodvar, David Lynch, Alexander Payne and Julian Schnabel have signed the petition, which has resulted in a intense display of both solidarity and criticism in what has exploded into a significant culture war.