The New York Musical Festival’s recent bankruptcy announcement has left several of our members with questions regarding unpaid royalties and unrefunded submission fees.
With respect to royalties, participants in the 2019 NYMF (which include self-producing playwrights) expected to receive a split of their ticket sales, but it is our understanding that participants have not received any box office statements or revenues. While NYMF was entitled to retain the first $1,500 in ticket sales, participants are due a share of any revenues earned above that, so authors may be owed unpaid royalties based on those revenues.
Regarding submission fees, we have been advised that NYMF accepted applications for the 2020 festival, including $55-$75 submission fees which were non-refundable. In fact, they still have their website up, promoting their activities and soliciting donations, without any statement of their financial situation.
Although NYMF’s contracts generally allow claims of under $5000 to be brought in small claims court, they have filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Therefore, it is possible that those of you owed money from NYMF have now become claimants in this bankruptcy and will have to file a “Proof of Claim,” when and if so prompted by the bankruptcy clerk, in order to recover your money. Unfortunately, the filing states that there are no assets with which to pay the creditors, so there may be no way for creditors to recover such monies owed them.
We have posted the bankruptcy filings here for your own review. There will also be a creditor’s meeting on January 23, 2020 at 9:30am at the Office of the United States Trustee, United States Bankruptcy Court, SDNY, One Bowling Green, Room 511, Fifth Floor, New York, NY 10004.
While the Guild continues to research this situation, those of you expecting box office receipts from 2019 or refunded submission fees for the 2020 festival may want to contact private counsel as soon as possible to understand your rights.