The New York Times - Interns Suing Black Swan Producers
Two 'Black Swan' interns are suing Fox Searchlight, the production company behind the film for failing to provide training similar to what would be given in an educational institution.
Two 'Black Swan' interns are suing the production company behind the film.
Alex Footman, 24, and Eric Glatt, 42, have criticised the film industry's practice of unpaid internships by filing a lawsuit in federal court in Manhattan yesterday (28.09.11) claiming that Fox Searchlight violated minimum wage and overtime laws and failed to provide training similar to what would be given in an educational institution, the New York Times reports.
The lawsuit states: "Fox Searchlight's unpaid interns are a crucial labour force on its productions, functioning as production assistants and bookkeepers and performing secretarial and janitorial work. In misclassifying many of its workers as unpaid interns, Fox Searchlight has denied them the benefits that the law affords to employees."
Mr. Footman - whose responsibilities included making coffee and taking out garbage - said: "The only thing I learned on this internship was to be more picky in choosing employment opportunities. 'Black Swan' had more than $300 million in revenues. If they paid us, it wouldn't make a big difference to them, but it would make a huge difference to us."
Mr. Glatt, an accounting intern who says he took the placement because he wanted to move into the film industry added: "When I started looking for opportunities in the industry, I saw that most people accept an ugly trade-off. If you want to get your foot in the door on a studio picture, you have to suck it up and do an unpaid internship."
Russell Nelson, a Fox Searchlight spokesman, said: "We just learned of this litigation and have not had a chance to review it so we cannot make any comment at this time."
'Black Swan' - about a ballet dancer who is slowly losing her mind - earned Natalie Portman an Oscar for her leading performance.