The Motion Picture Editors Guild (IATSE 700) will be making its ongoing dispute with filmmaker-philanthropist Sonia Nassery Cole public tonight at the 2013 PEN USA Literary Awards in Beverly Hills, where Cole is a scheduled honoree. The beef stems from $85K in compensation Cole’s Breadwinner Productions still owes guild members for work on her 2011 Afghan Oscar submission The Black Tulip, amounting to $65K in wages and over $20K in contracted benefit contributions. MPEG filed a grievance on behalf of its members in 2011 and tried to pursue it through arbitration but Cole became uncooperative and unresponsive, a guild spokesperson tells me. Cole is set to receive the Freedom to Write award from PEN USA tonight at the Beverly Hills Hotel. MPEG is sending a small contingent of members to banner outside the event with signs that read “SHAME ON YOU! Sonia Nassery Cole – Pay the Editors of The Black Tulip THEIR FULL WAGES – IATSE Local 700.”
“While the picture itself honors the principles represented by the PEN Awards, Ms. Cole steadfastly refuses to honor those same principles when dealing with the editorial crew she employed on the picture,” MPEG Western Executive Director Cathy Repola wrote in a letter to PEN USA obtained by Deadline. PEN USA exec director Adam Somers tells Deadline the organization does not plan on taking any action tonight in response to Local 700’s presence.