Here’s something you never hear about, filmmakers prompting audiences to download their movies. It seems insane but that’s what happening with Tommy Pallotta’s latest feature, American Prince. It’s the sequel to Martin Scorsese’s old school documentary, American Boy. Pallotta, producer of such films as A Scanner Darkly and Waking Life, wants to distribute his movie to audiences via the “taboo” internet torrents.

Here’s a brief description of American Prince and what Pallotta is trying to accomplish with the film.

In 1978, director Martin Scorsese turned his camera on his friend and roommate, Steven Prince, with his lost documentary “American Boy”. Best known for his role as the gun salesman in Taxi Driver, Prince was a true-life raconteur, actor, ex-drug addict, and road manager for Neil Diamond. To Scorsese, Steven’s life was more fascinating than what any screenwriter could dream up, it had to be captured in celluloid. Three decades later, filmmaker Tommy Pallotta draws out Steven Prince to recount his days since “American Boy” and to compose the next chapter of his story.


Pallotta recently spoke to TorrentFreak and told them that he acquired the majority of the footage he used for American Prince from internet sources. He’s hoping the film will get discovered by a new generation provoking them to watch the original.

Yes we used material from BitTorrent and YouTube for American Prince and no, we did not license them. I did receive the master copy of American Boy from Steven Prince himself, but we found a copy via BitTorrent that was better than that copy, so we used that! Plus, there is some confusion as to who actually owns the rights to American Boy. Part of the motivation of this film was to get a proper release for Scorsese’s American Boy. I felt this film would help uncover who has the rights and hopefully get it in front of a larger audience.

This is such a strange circumstance. American Boy was originally released in 1978, and I’ve rarely heard of it mentioned along with Scorsese’s other works. Perhaps that’s the reason no one knows it’s true owner? Something about this situation is really sad to me. As far as Scorsese’s response to this unconventional means of distribution, we’ve heard nothing. Even though a formal statement’s not out there, I doubt that he feels good about this. 

What do you think about this film being available for download on torrents?