DuArt Lab storage fees

From: Scott Stark (email suppressed)
Date: Fri Jun 12 2009 - 07:19:46 PDT

Hi all, I thought I'd report a troubling situation with DuArt Lab in New
York in case any other filmmakers are in the same situation.

In 1998 I used DuArt to transfer my film Noema from Hi-8 video to 16mm
negative film, and had them print several release prints. DuArt kept all of
the film elements and returned the tape to me; I haven't thought about it
much since, except once a couple of years later when I had another release
print made.

Last month I asked them to return the film elements to me. I was notified
that I first had to pay a "storage surcharge" of $40 per month for the last
ten and a half years (125 months), amounting to $5000 plus tax.

This was obviously a quite a shock to me, first of all since other labs
I've used (such as Monaco) never charged me a dime for storage. Alpha Cine
charges a modest $1.25 per month. But more importantly, never once in the
last 10+ years did DuArt send me any kind of invoice for these charges. If
they had, I'd have paid it off immediately and withdrawn the elements. Yes
I see now it's in their literature and I should have read more carefully at
the time (though I never actually saw their literature, since the
transaction was handled via phone and U.S. mail at the time). But I wish
they had billed me 10 years ago instead of letting the charges accrue to
thousands of dollars.

In the meantime, filmmakers beware: if your elements are being stored by a
lab, look carefully at the storage agreement.

Scott Stark

For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.