SAG-AFTRA is formally encouraging performers whose movies have signed and obtained the guild’s interim agreement to attend and freely promote their movies at the fall film festivals, including Venice, Telluride, and Toronto.
This should be a sigh of relief to many producers and actors with movies playing at a fest, who even if their projects had already signed interim agreements, were question marks to attend. The guild is now openly telling members to “celebrate and fully promote” their projects while at the festivals, which kick off at the end of next week with Venice.
Of course, this is not a green light for any movie that has not already signed the interim agreement, and many independent movies are still awaiting word about whether they will obtain one before the festivals begin. SAG-AFTRA recently changed its rules with interim agreements to disqualify films that are WGA-covered projects made in the U.S.
So far though, movies like Sofia Coppola’s “Priscilla,” Michael Mann’s “Ferrari,” Luc Besson’s “Dogman,” Ethan Hawke’s “Wildcat,” and the Dakota Johnson and Sean Penn film “Daddio” have all signed the interim agreement.
“This is what solidarity looks like. We are proud of our members who demonstrate the various ways to bolster the strike effort,” SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director & Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said in a statement. “Whether it’s walking a picket line, working on approved Interim Agreement productions, or maintaining employment on one of our other permissible, non-struck contracts, our members’ support for their union is empowering and inspiring.”
He continued: “The Interim Agreement is a vital part of our strategic approach and was created for several reasons, all of which are aimed at protecting the interests of our members. The Agreement demonstrates to the AMPTP and the struck companies that independent producers at all budget levels are eager, keen, and able to work with our members under these terms. We encourage SAG-AFTRA members to audition for and appear in projects that have been approved for an Interim Agreement, and applaud them for promoting their work in these productions.”
The guild considers interim agreements a key part of its negotiating strategy, even as they’ve proved to be polarizing among some members and confusing for producers hoping to obtain one. But because the interim agreement is a contract that includes all the proposals rejected by the AMPTP, it requires that any distributor buying a movie out of a festival that has signed the agreement will have to abide by those contract terms. It remains to be seen what that will do to the market at both Venice and TIFF for that reason.
Crabtree-Ireland has previously said that the guild has received thousands of interim agreement applications since the strike began in mid-July, and they still receive a steady stream of applications and are processing them in the order they come in.