Christopher Perez Featured in Wired Article on Operation Avalanche
Directors Matt Johnson and Matthew Miller knew from the start that their film Operation Avalanche, a fake documentary about faking the Apollo 11 moon landing, would be extremely difficult to pull off—especially since it involved shooting at NASA under false pretenses. To avoid any issues, they reached out to Donaldson + Callif Partner Christopher Perez before filming began. Wired turned to Chris to explain how Operation Avalanche was able to see the light of day in the article “How Do You Make the Fake NASA Documentary Operation Avalanche? Hire a Really Good Lawyer.”
According to Chris, the film was on solid ground under the Fair Use doctrine, which allowed the filmmakers to use source material such as archival footage of director Stanley Kubrick in part because it is used in a creative and transformative manner and does not adversely impact the market for the original material.
Operation Avalanche ultimately only used around 20 minutes of the footage shot at NASA, and a few clips of Kubrick. However, the scenes helped shape the film’s overall narrative arc, and are exactly the types of footage many filmmakers who aren’t aware of Fair Use are afraid to include. “The reason why it hasn’t spread much is because it’s easier [for studios] to say no,” Chris said.