EXCLUSIVE: Talk about embarrassing a studio and a guild simultaneously. Tomorrow the American Federation of Musicians will picket Lionsgate because the studio is not using AFM musicians on The Hunger Games. Since that movie is now in post-production and AFM President Ray Hair has made Lionsgate the target of picketing, Thursday’s protest is happening at the Lionsgate TV show Mad Men‘s downtown LA location shoot. Further complicating the situation is that one of tomorrow’s picketers is expected to be Hair’s chief lieutenant, Recording Musicians Association Of Los Angeles President Pete Anthony who sources tell me “scabbed” as an orchestrator on The Hunger Games. (Anthony is a conductor for James Newton-Howard who is the composer for The Hunger Games.) Here’s what Hair says is AFM’s problem with Lionsgate:
“The American Federation of Musicians is moving to organize the independent film studio Lionsgate, and we are working right now toward securing AFM coverage for all musicians who might be employed on their upcoming movie, The Hunger Games,” Hair recently told AFM members. “The director, cinematographers, editors, actors, writers, and many others are all receiving union wages, benefits and protections for this U.S.-filmed movie, and so it should be for the musicians. Unfortunately, we currently have no motion picture contracts on file for the movie The Hunger Games, although we know that post-production music work has begun on this film domestically. Our goal is that Lionsgate recognize the importance of being a responsible employer, as well as the unparalleled value of working with the world’s finest musicians – you, our AFM members.”
The problem of having Anthony — the president of the RMA, a subsect of the national AFM — picket a movie he has scabbed on has brought considerable attention to the orchestrator because he’s up for reelection in two weeks. Activist AFM members are calling on Anthony to resign for working “non-union” even as he has been a vital member of the AFM. Further deepening the tension is that the AFM has a strict bylaw calling for a $50K fine for the composer and anyone else who works non-union. Now the question is whether AFM president Hair and local 47 President Vince Trombetta will make their members as responsible as they are holding Lionsgate? Here’s what the blog Responsible47 is saying about the AFM/RSM/Hunger Games/Lionsgate matter:
WHO ORCHESTRATED THE FILM? – wait for it… None other than the grand Pooh-bah of the RMALA, Pete Anthony.
That’s right folks. Not just an RMA member, not just an RMA officer, but the PRESIDENT OF THE RECORDING MUSICIANS ASSOCIATION OF LOS ANGELES (RMALA) just orchestrated a film that went out of the country (as he had done many times before), and orchestration IS covered by Union Contracts. There’s also a $50,000 fine for doing that work, though some mouths have been wagging, saying out of the country is fine. (See Bylaw below.)