In The Hunger Games, the rich and politically powerful rulers of the capital city Panem force young people from 12 districts to fight against each other. The Games serve the interests of the ruling elite by ensuring a quiescent populace remains that way, while 23 of the 24 young combatants are meant to wind up dead.
Good dystopian sci-fi holds up a mirror to reality, sometimes despite itself. It is unlikely that either trilogy author Suzanne Collins or Lionsgate – the producer and distributor of the film series – had Hollywood in mind, but the films provide an excellent description of the economics of today’s movie industry, as states compete with each other to give away ever more taxpayer dollars in exchange for jobs that, in some cases at least, they don’t even get.
As a new LAANE report details, every year approximately 40 U.S.
“Shame on Arclight!”
“What do we want? Living wages! When do we want them? Now!”
Last Saturday evening the movie-and-sushi crowd that regularly assembles in the Sunset Boulevard ArcLight Cinema’s courtyard witnessed a spirited protest organized by the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Union (IATSE) Local 33, on behalf of the projectionists employed by Tinseltown’s priciest movie venue. It was the latest in a series of union actions against ArcLight aimed at drawing public attention to the theater projectionists’ meager wages — under $13 an hour and without health care or pension benefits — nearly half of IATSE’s pay and benefits compensation.
The timing couldn’t have been more annoyingly inopportune for ArcLight. The evening marked the grand opening of the Lionsgate picture Interstellar and, as it turns out, Lionsgate is now busy outsourcing, to overseas, jobs previously held by union musicians.
Today is a big day for Lionsgate Entertainment, and we want to help celebrate. That’s why on the occasion of the annual shareholder’s meeting of this hugely successful film company (taking place right now in Toronto), AFM musicians are proud to present a musical tribute to Lionsgate and its executive leadership – a little number we call “Right Here at the Top.”
AFM musicians created the song as part of our efforts to draw attention to Lionsgate’s destructive offshoring of musical scoring work, even as it simultaneously takes millions in tax dollars — moneys intended to enrich our communities. Of course the story told by the CEO in our song may not be exactly the story told by Lionsgate’s executives to their shareholders. But wait –– what’s that? The executives at Lionsgate fail to provide important information to their beloved shareholders?
When the car in front of you gets pulled over for speeding and you’re going just as fast, you tend to slow down.
Judging from a story in last Friday’s L.A. Times, this sort of common-sense approach may not be so common at the Santa Monica headquarters of the film and TV studio, Lionsgate. According to the Times’ reporting, Lionsgate is the last major studio to retain its unpaid internship program after the rest of the entertainment industry has started to pay interns.
The industry’s problems began in 2011, when interns working on the film Black Swan for Fox Searchlight filed a class action suit against the company, claiming violations of federal labor law. (Companies are not allowed to use interns as a source of free labor as viewed by the U.S. Department of Labor.) Following the Black Swan suit,
After more than a month of unsuccessful attempts to reach Lionsgate Entertainment CEO Jon Feltheimer through letters and phone calls, it was time to pay him a visit. Rank-and-file musicians wanted to discuss Lionsgate’s practice of offshoring its musical scoring to distant countries – something that limits local musicians’ ability to earn a living and deprives our communities of tax revenue.
On Tuesday union members and supporters of the American Federation of Musicians’ Listen Up! campaign — including professional musicians, labor allies, faith and community leaders — gathered in Santa Monica’s Stewart Street Park for a rally. The spirited event included AFM Local 47’s executive board and a supportive crowd of musicians representing members from across our union. We were joined in song by our fellow AFM members and Grammy nominees Lisa Haley and the Zydakats. We heard moving speeches from Santa Monica City Councilmember Kevin McKeown and other friends,