A union dispute begun during postproduction of New Line Cinema’s “Hangin’ With The Homeboys” followed the pic to the Sundance Film Fest, where reps of N.Y. Editors Local 771 picketed the film outside fest h.q. and at its world premiere screening Jan. 18.
Claiming New Line and the production entity Juno Pix violated union standards on various counts, Intl. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees members urged festgoers not to attend the film as they handed out leaflets listing their grievances.
Picketing did not deter filmgoers, who filled the Prospector Square Theater to capacity, but it had a marked effect on Joseph P. Vasquez, the film’s 28-year-old director.
“It’s funny to come down to a screening of your film and find out you’re a scab. Especially a scab on a picture that was non-union to begin with and very low budget,” he said in introducing the film. “This is why half the film crews in New York are now shooting outside the city – because it costs $40 million to shoot a film about a guy and his dog in an apartment.”
The IATSE leaflet said Juno Pix and New Line, following a petition at the National Labor Relations Board filed by Local 771, agreed to recognize the union as the collective bargaining representative of all editorial employees on “Hangin’ With The Homeboys,” but then “refused to work out a decent contract and forced a strike by those employees.”
Pic’s producer, Richard Brick, said all editorial employees on the pic were under union contracts except the four editors. Film was made under the affirmative action contract of the Screen Actors Guild, which stipulates that the budget remain under $2 million.
Per Brick, to comply with IATSE’s demand on behalf of the picture editors would have added “half a million to the budget. It just wouldn’t fit.”