Actors fume over unpaid salaries – Producers disappear


What started as an exciting career highlight ended in sadness after a group of actors and crew members shot a movie and never got paid.

Renowned actors Pallance Dladla, Christopher Jaftha, rapper Rouge (real name Deko Barbara-jessica Wedi) and Mpolokeng Chabane are among the actors who are fighting for their hard-earned cash. The production of the movie started rolling in midmay and ended last month.

This is after executive producers Lizette Khan and Justine Strydom of Skinny Chick Productions failed to pay crew and cast members after shooting a movie called Deadly Minds in Durban last month.

The crew spent a month away from their homes.

According to whistle-blowers, actors were promised to get paid, but halfway through shooting the producers changed their tune.

“Halfway through the movie we were told that one of the two funders pulled out, however, we were promised not to worry, they will pay us from the company’s cash flow,” said the source.

To their dismay on the day before the payment, they received e-mails instead citing that they won’t be getting paid. “They told us they can’t pay us because the second sponsor also pulled out,” said the source.

According to the cast and crew that worked on the production, the producers made them shoot the film before securing funding and getting the movie to be commissioned. Instead, they lied that funds were already secured.

“First, they were cagey about who the funders were; we only knew that they were American.

“We left our homes in Jozi during Covid to put food on the table for our loved ones, but instead we got played by greedy and horrible people, who were hoping to sell the movie to either Showmax, Netflix or big screens,” said another source.

The producers also left Durban without paying the catering company, which was feeding the crew on set.

They told us the second sponsor also pulled out.

According to another source, the two also exited the Whatsapp group they created.

“They are not responding to our e-mails and texts messages. We are in the dark, as we speak some of us are looking for legal aid or someone who can help us legally. They can’t mess with our bread and butter and think they will get away with it,” said the source

When contacted for comment, Khan said: “I don’t know what you are talking about, I spoke to everyone and they are fine, I don’t see a story there.”

“I think it’s a bit premature, we finished shooting about three weeks ago, there are some outstanding payments, but most people got paid.”

– SW

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