I organised a meeting today to brief hods on what is happening, to discuss rumors we should strike tomorrow, and to discuss the contract ATP were trying to get us to sign to see what people wanted to do.
Majid came to tell me that Ibrahim demanded to see me right away, I said I’d see him after the meeting. Majid left and came back and told me that Ibrahim DEMANDED I see him RIGHT NOW. I said no. I told him to leave. Majid refused to leave saying ATP can do what they want. I was disgusted by this bullying tactic – this was a private meeting where the crew should feel they could discuss their concerns without being spied on by ATP but clearly ATP had other ideas – and I shouted at him and DEMANDED he leave. He left looking very sheepish.
It was agreed not to strike. But the suggestion was made by someone (not me) that we should send a petition to Medinah Company saying what was wrong with the current situation and that we have the means to fix it. Specifically, the crew felt that we have everything we need to shoot within five weeks of the investors saying we could go ahead without ATP.
Everyone agreed, ATP was just an obstacle. They were not needed. All they seemed intent on doing was embezzling the funds where we all wanted to actually shoot something. We are the filmmakers, it was agreed. We can produce and shoot this ourselves. ATP are just a bunch of crooks.
Contents to include were:-
- Start and end date
- Payments and pay slips
- Remedy for late payments
- Access to production accountant and payroll
- Insurance – medical, accident, public liability on and off site)
- Medic on site
- Guarantee free access in and out of country
- Resignation period
Solution we would like to offer to be in camera as soon as possible:
- Completion bond
- Production account and payroll
- Production management and producing
- Budget and schedule
- Weekly / monthly cash flow and monthly reports
- HR from current crew to fully crew
- Legal assistance, contracts etc …
- Medical and accident insurance
- Production insurance
Afterwards, I was called into a meeting with Ibrahim who told me I am fired for inciting the crew to strike (which was not true and ironic since only a week earlier he had promised he would strike with us if we had not been paid by now – so that was clearly another one of Ibrahim’s many many lies (Old Joke: “How can you tell when Ibrahim is lying? His mouth moves.”)).
Anyway, I recorded him telling me I was fired. The recording will be added later this week.
Gloves off, I told Ibrahim that ATP was way out of its depth and has been for some time. That the crew will quit and they will never be able to replace them. That the show was dead in the water and ATP was with it.
I told him he’s being incredibly naive.
He just wouldn’t believe it. Can’t say I’m surprised. (What ATP does not get is that by making this series they are no longer a Middle Eastern production company – they are an international production company. And when the international film and TV industry sees what they have done, their international career will be over. No-one will work with them. No-one will finance them. It will take a few years for this to happen, but it will. Talal’s career is over. So is Ibrahim’s. They just don’t know it yet.
This next bit is alleged guesswork on my part, but history shows that when embezzlers get caught, there is a pattern to who’s heads roll. The person most likely to get away wth this is Fadi. He’s the third culprit (That’s assuming you count Ibrahim as a culprit, but in reality he is the ‘frontman’ – the public figure and the one who appears to make all the decisions – and hence the person Talal and Fadi will blame when it all goes wrong. As the controller of finance, Fadi will have made sure he’s safe despite Tala’s efforts to make it look like has no part in what goes on. But Fadi is smarter than Talal. Fadi will have made sure he’s safe and Talal won’t even know it. No wonder Fadi looks so smug all the time. Talal is not as smart as he likes to think he is. He should keep a close eye on Fadi!
Back to current events;
I also accused Inrahim of bullying the crew. He slipped up and admitted it. He then tried to talk his way out of it by pretending he did not know what the word “bullying” means. Which is nonsense, of course.
After leaving, I told Maria what had happened (she is quitting and so is the 3rd AD). I went back to the office and told my team. Jules came in and said she had heard and that the crew would be sending the petition that we had discussed to Medinah Company with a new addendum that I was not to be fired – the crew would not have it.