The special effects team who worked on Oscar-winning film Bohemian Rhapsody have yet to be paid because of the collapse of their employer.
Officials at the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Communications and Theatre Union (BECTU), who represent visual effects (VFX) freelancers, are currently handling cases for four members owed more than $70,600 for work on films including the blockbuster Queen biopic.
The team contributed to scenes including the band’s iconic Live Aid gig, which closes the movie, but are chasing pay as the firm hired to oversee the sequences, Halo VFX, has entered bankruptcy.
BECTU’s assistant national secretary, Paul Evans, said in a press statement: “I’ve never had a situation where individual BECTU members have been hit this badly and it is not something we can’t just shrug our shoulders and move on from.
“This is a hugely profitable industry and the productions that our members worked on were successful. It’s not acceptable for VFX artists who have contributed to the success of multi-million pound features to be the ones to carry risk and to go unpaid for their hard work and talent.”
Bohemian Rhapsody scooped the most Oscars of the night at the 91st Academy Awards on Sunday (24Feb19), winning four, including a Best Actor trophy for Rami Malek, who starred as Freddie Mercury. It has also made more than $860 million at the box office.
Representatives of the film’s studio, 20th Century Fox, did not respond to a request for comment. Evans puts his members’ plight down to wider industry pressures.
“The incentives are all wrong in VFX,” he explained. “A lot of the risks end up on the shoulders of freelance workers who have to cushion the industry by accepting long periods of unpaid overtime work and working-hours that are very sub-optimal in terms of creativity and productivity. It’s an industry that drives talented people out.”