Film crew of 'Good Side of a Bad Man,' now on hold, hasn't been paid

Nov. 25—Some crew members of a $3.5 million movie about Depression-era gangster Charles "Pretty Boy" Floyd that paused shooting last week say they still have not been paid for the work they did on the film.

The film, Good Side of a Bad Man, got in several days of shooting in the Albuquerque Railyard and in Santa Fe County in early November before a coronavirus outbreak caused a five-day delay, a member of the production crew said last week.

But Jessamyn Land, who worked as a second assistant director on the film, said the production may be in financial trouble because some crew members have yet to be paid.

She said in dealing with the production's accounting department employees, they continually say, more or less, the check will be going in the mail any day now.

And that's not reassuring, since this is a holiday weekend, when most businesses shut down anyway, Land said.

"For people who haven't been paid for the week ending Nov. 5, and not get[ting] paid until Thanksgiving, that will be over two weeks," she said Tuesday.

Land said she did get paid for her first week of work on the production, but not since. Other crew members, she said, are still waiting to be paid.

Several of those crew members emailed The New Mexican under the condition of anonymity to say they were still waiting for their paychecks Wednesday.

Jenifer Ellis, who worked as first assistant director on the film, said she received a text from the film's producer, Gabriella Almagor, saying the crew would get paid once more money comes in from investors.

Ellis said many people take film jobs expecting the weekly paycheck, which can make the difference in paying their bills or, at this time of year, holiday presents.

She said none of the producers should accept pay until they pay the crew members.

"They should pay the crew what they owe and go somewhere else where they can see what it's like to live paycheck to paycheck," Ellis said.

Neither Almagor nor Crystal Starr, a director's assistant and production supervisor on the film, returned calls seeking comment Wednesday. Last week, Starr told The New Mexican the first delay in production was due to five coronavirus cases among the crew. That delay impacted the schedule with the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, she said.

She said the film was paused and the producers intended to restart filming at some point. Asked about concerns raised by crew members who said they were not paid last week, Starr said there was some "mishandling with crew paperwork in the beginning" but added the production staff "proceeded to make payments."

Land said many on the crew are not happy with the delay in payment. A 17-year veteran of the industry, she said she has never experienced a film shutting down production or not meeting payroll on time.

She said if the producers do resume production, they may find it hard to recruit the crew. "Nobody wants to work on this production again," she said. "When people treat people like this, if they come back, they are going to have a hard time finding people to go to work for them."

"In no way at all should they return," Ellis said.

Land said, in talking to members of the production staff, she keeps hearing "it's happening," regarding the delivery of paychecks. She said she first heard the checks would come Nov. 18, and then Nov. 19 and then Nov. 21.

"Now they are saying it will be the 22nd or the 23rd," she said.

The entertainment media outlet Deadline described the movie — following FBI agent Melvin Purvis as he pursues real-life Depression-era gangster Floyd — as "under the radar." Land, who lives in Utah, said she loved working with the New Mexico crew members and actors on the production.

"I would 100 percent work with local crews again," she said.

Bryan Evans, business representative for IATSE Local 480, the local film technicians' union, said in a brief interview Wednesday, "Yes, there is an impact, but we are aggressively working on a solution."