From ASIFA-SF Newsletter, Sept 2016 Issue.


DID THE PRODUCERS OF “SAUSAGE PARTY” RIP OFF SOME OF THE ANIMATORS? The Hollywood Reporter informs us that about thirty animators who worked on the film signed a letter late last year complaining that Nitrogen Studios, the Canadian company they worked for, was screwing them by not paying overtime wages and pressuring them to “voluntarily” work extra hours for free.

Apparently the Hollywood Reporter has reason to believe that some animators were well paid, but about 30 who did not get screen credit were being exploited by management until the letter was sent to Nitrogen and the U.S. producers. After the letter was sent the producers ensured that overtime rates were paid and that meals were provided for people who stayed late to work on the film, but back pay was not provided for those who had worked voluntarily.

Jennifer Moreau, vice president of Unifor Local 2000 in Vancouver, which represents around 1,200 local media workers, said her union monitors the local non-union animation studios for work code violations.  She told the Hollywood Reporter that Nitrogen hires local animators on temporary contracts, which is typical of the local industry, and that “the problem with contract work is you’re in a perpetual probation period. Employers know this and will hold it over the animators, suggesting they won’t get rehired for the next project if they object to management’s rulesime hits. That often means working long hours and doing unpaid overtime. Employees at Nitrogen complain of high turnover and a lack of stability, which to me, suggests problems with management,” she added.

Sausage Party was produced by Annapurna Pictures and released by Sony Pictures. It is a hit financially.