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Shoreditch showbiz lawyer sells Leonard Cohen film footage

PUBLISHED: 07:00 22 January 2011

Steven Machat at home in Shoreditch

Steven Machat at home in Shoreditch

Olivia Harris

Sale of £1,000 reels brings long and stormy relationship to an end

Leonard Cohen with Marty Machat in...

A Hackney-based music mogul is selling 294 reels of previously unseen footage of folk rock icon, Leonard Cohen this weekend, bringing their long and stormy relationship to an end.

Showbiz lawyer Steven Machat, of Bateman’s Row, Shoreditch, will hand over the films that were used to create last year’s fly on the wall documentary “Bird on a Wire”.

It follows Cohen on his 1972 European tour, on stage and behind the scenes.

The sale of the reels, priced at £1,000 each, marks the final chapter in a dispute between US-born Machat, 58, and his former client Cohen over the footage.

He said: “These reels are historical, and since Cohen himself didn’t put them into a museum, I feel the rightful place is with his fans who so adore his message.”

“I am selling this for money. I am selling this so those who worship and adore the artist can have something to hold and own as their own.”

Machat first met Cohen at the age of 16 when his late father, legendary music manager Marty took the singer-songwriter onto his books.

He later went on to work with Cohen himself.

The film reels went missing in 1980 but Machat, who now runs a record label in Shoreditch with his son, re-discovered them in 2009.

After a lengthy process of re-editing with the help of original director, Tony Palmer, “Bird on a Wire” was screened on BBC Four last November.

The release was a labour of love in honour of his father, and for the sake of Cohen’s fans, he said.

“My specific purpose in doing this was to give dad back his legacy. The film is a powerful testament to a specific time in history.”

The films will go on sale on Leonard Cohen fan site www.leonardcohencafe.com on Sunday (January 23). Collectors will enter a draw to decide which reel they can buy.


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