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Cut and Thrust of Film Industry Workplace Practices Exposed

May 15, 2015

In a bitterly fought case which exposed the cut and thrust of workplace practices in parts of the film industry, a producer has convinced the High Court that she at least deserved to be paid for more than three years of effort she put in before her contract was terminated.

The woman, a former make-up artist, was keen to make it in the movie industry and had been engaged under contract by a film company which in due course promoted her to associate producer. The terms of her contract were, however, far from clear and the company ultimately broke off all commercial dealings with her.

After she launched legal action, the company argued that she had agreed that she would only be paid if one of her projects came to fruition and was green-lighted. However, following an eight-day hearing, the Court found that, on a true reading of the contract, she was entitled to be paid £25,000 a year for her work.

She was awarded £79,167 in respect of the remuneration she should have received after the Court rejected the company’s plea that she had herself breached the contract by failing to adequately perform her duties. The company’s counterclaim that she had failed to reimburse expenses incurred during trips abroad, including to the Cannes Film Festival, was rejected.

                          

Although the woman failed to establish entitlement to a £50,000 bonus, the Court ordered her to be reimbursed in respect of more than £6,000 in loans that she had made to the company prior to the acrimonious parting of their ways.