Student Film Interns File Federal Suit Against Unpaid Work On 'Black Swan'

These kids are probably somewhat privileged to begin with, but I'm happy to see them take on the industry. From the New York Times: Two men who worked on the hit movie “Black Swan” have mounted an unusual challenge to the film industry’s

These kids are probably somewhat privileged to begin with, but I'm happy to see them take on the industry. From the New York Times:

Two men who worked on the hit movie “Black Swan” have mounted an unusual challenge to the film industry’s widely accepted practice of unpaid internships by filing a lawsuit on Wednesday asserting that the production company had violated minimum wage and overtime laws by hiring dozens of such interns.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Manhattan, claims that Fox Searchlight Pictures, the producer of “Black Swan,” had the interns do menial work that should have been done by paid employees and did not provide them with the type of educational experience that labor rules require in order to exempt employers from paying interns.

“Fox Searchlight’s unpaid interns are a crucial labor force on its productions, functioning as production assistants and bookkeepers and performing secretarial and janitorial work,” the lawsuit says. “In misclassifying many of its workers as unpaid interns, Fox Searchlight has denied them the benefits that the law affords to employees.” Workplace experts say the number of unpaid internships has grown in recent years, in the movie business and many other industries. Some young people complain that these internships give an unfair edge to the affluent and well connected.

For whatever their motives may be, this is a good thing. When these entry-level, career-path creative jobs pay a decent wage, they will be an option for applicants of all backgrounds, not just the children of the rich and well-connected.

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