Imagine the exhilaration that courses through your veins as you set your sights on a rare, limited-edition Cj Hendry t-shirt. It’s a prize that money can’t buy, and you’re willing to go to extraordinary lengths to obtain it. Picture yourself embarking on an epic scavenger hunt, traversing bustling cities across the globe, driven solely by your determination to secure a box in the coveted Copyright Infringement giveaway.
The phenomenon, born out of a cease-and-desist letter from the Muhammed Ali estate in 2018, has evolved into something extraordinary — a mesmerizing documentary film aptly named “Copyright Infringement.” Premiering at the Brooklyn Film Festival on June 9, this cinematic masterpiece takes you on a spellbinding journey. Brace yourself for the directorial debut of David Sabshon and D’Marie Productions as they capture the awe-inspiring tale of Cj Hendry, her family, and her devoted team as they embark on an intercontinental adventure, dropping t-shirts in five cities across four countries within a mere four days. It’s a breathtaking feat, especially considering that this whirlwind escapade unfolded while Hendry was five months pregnant — her resilience shining through as the filmmakers respectfully worked around her needs.
Exhaustion, for Hendry, is a small price to pay, knowing that she’s part of a larger, captivating puzzle. With a dedicated squad in London and her parents and sister in her hometown of Brisbane, Hendry and her studio manager, Elsa Picone, lead the charge in North America. Each year, Copyright Infringement showcases Hendry’s extraordinary talent, where she meticulously creates hyperrealistic drawings inspired by renowned artists’ works. The film takes you through the fourth edition of this remarkable giveaway, featuring brilliantly crafted knock-offs of Damien Hirst’s spot paintings, ingeniously concealed within paint cans. With the world as her canvas, Hendry prints these captivating drawings on t-shirts, packaging them in vibrant red boxes marked “Copyright Infringement/Trash Only.” At dawn’s first light, she sets out on a mission to leave them in public places, meticulously documented through her captivating Instagram stories, beckoning her devoted fans to embark on a quest to claim their prized possessions.
The journey began when Hendry discovered that selling her t-shirts featuring crumbled Andy Warhol photographs could result in legal repercussions. Yet, she couldn’t fathom destroying these meticulously crafted pieces of art. In a bold and defiant move, she declared, “Fuck it. We’ve already spent $20,000 — let’s at least have some fun with it.” Little did she know that this impulsive decision would set the stage for an extraordinary phenomenon — one that took the art world by storm, completely by accident. The palpable excitement surrounding Copyright Infringement reverberates throughout the film. In one exhilarating scene, the camera zooms in on a woman, hair wrapped in foils, face adorned with a mask, sprinting out of a Soho salon to snatch a box from Picone’s hands — a testament to the frenzy and allure that surrounds this extraordinary endeavor.
For many of Hendry’s fans, owning her work is a distant dream, given its lofty price tag. They can immerse themselves in her captivating art exhibitions, such as the recent one featuring an adult playground mimicking the vibrant lines of her “Plaid” drawings. However, acquiring her painstakingly detailed masterpieces remains out of reach. The Copyright Infringement t-shirts, on the other hand, hold a different allure — they are precious tokens earned through sweat and toil. Wearing one becomes a badge of honor, a tangible reminder of the electrifying thrill that accompanies the chase.
It was this electrifying frenzy that sparked the idea for the documentary.
The documentary Copyright Infringement is screening at the Brooklyn Film Festival, Windmill Studios in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, New York, June 9, 2023, at 8 p.m.; and the New York City Independent Film Festival, the Producers Club, 358 West 44 Street, New York, New York, June 11, 2023 at 1:30 p.m.