Friday, January 6, 2012


With the good comes that bad and sometimes it is mixed with controversy.   SWATH's composer James Newton Howard has the honor of composing the score for 'The Hunger Games' film.  However, where he is composing it has become an issue. 

Variety is reporting that Lionsgate is having the film scored abroad in London.  The issue at hand is that the film is an American-made film from beginning to end entirely produced in the U.S.; and its soundtrack features American artists such as Taylor Swift, however, Lionsgate is refusing to complete the film scoring in the U.S. placing them at odds with the American Federation of Musicians.


There has been an ongoing concern building within the American film industry for years due to steep tax incentives provided by foreign countries (fairly or unfairly depending on ones perspective) which does not allow for the U.S. film industry to compete for productions.

More and more major productions are being filmed abroad due to these incentives. Both Canada and the UK have been a hotbed for American films. The more films being made abroad, means less work for American film industry. In today's economy, it is bound to come to a head.

Why Lionsgate made this decision is not clear but it places Howard in a precarious position. Variety further reports that Lionsgate does not have a contractual agreement with the professional musicians of AFM like most of the major studios.  Lionsgate has agreements with all of the other major divisions within the industry (actors, directors, writers and film crews).

According to Deadline, AFM was leading a protest on Thursday against Lionsgate at their shooting location for their popular Emmy and Golden Globe winning television series, 'Mad Men' in downtown LA. The irony is that one of the the individual's leading the protest is "said" to have worked on the score as Howard's conductor breaking the rules of the AFM, according to a Detail source.  In other words, "scabbed" as a conductor on a non-union gig.
What has made matters worse, Pete Anthony (Howard's orchestrator) who is the President of the Recording Musicians Association of Los Angeles and the chief lieutenant of AFM President Ray Hair may have broken AFM's strict rules which he can be fined $50,000 for doing non-union work.  It is not clear at this time what Hair will do to enforce their rules against Anthony.

Could this controversy have an effect on 'Hunger Games' if future protest proceed?  Only time will tell.  One thing is for certain, this is not a good situation for all the parties involved. 

Read more of the story here at Deadline.


Source/Variety source via @malenacasey    

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