During an August 31 press conference at the Venice Film Festival, Adam Driver expressed support for SAG’s efforts for an interim agreement. “Every time people from SAG start supporting a movie that has agreed to these terms, the interim agreement, it just becomes more clear that these (producers who sign interim agreements) are willing to support the people they work with and the others too. not,” said the actor, who was in Italy to promote Neon distribution Ferrarito which an agreement was granted.
Since they were presented as part of the SAG-AFTRA strike, interim agreements have caused much consternation and confusion, especially leading up to the fall festivals.
The agreements have been presented by the union as a proven strike tactic, used in previous work stoppages as a way to keep non-AMPTP projects, namely independent features, running – while keeping union members employed and the studios operating. see that the entertainment industry can continue without them. But, as the head of a talent agency complains about the perceived lost batting momentum, “when these were introduced, a bit of pressure was let out.”
The performing artists, in turn, have received varying reactions to the agreements. Viola Davis retired from the MRC produced G20 after an agreement was granted, he said in a statement: “I love this film, but I don’t think it would be appropriate for this production to continue during the strike.” Ahead of TIFF, Amanda Seyfried said she wouldn’t attend the premiere of Atom Egoyan’s TIFF drama Seven veilswhich has an interim agreement, writes on social media that it “doesn’t feel good to go to the party in light of the strike.”
“Some people on my team advised me against this,” Jessica Chastain admitted during a press conference in Venice for her latest feature film Memory.
SAG and its chief negotiator, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, have recently engaged in a campaign to allay concerns about interim agreements, releasing statements urging members to attend autumn festivals for projects that have signed them (“That was a big turning point,” says one of them. publicist) and participate in a live Instagram session on the topic. Crabtree-Ireland is on site in Toronto for a conversation on the topic.
Still, there were concerns going into TIFF that signing these interim agreements – consisting of terms that SAG presented to the AMPTP on July 12 and which were rejected – could impact the chances of a title being acquired, especially by streamers. These terms include residual streaming statistics that have caused a huge backlash from the AMPTP.
Producers who have signed interim agreements do so with the understanding that when a contract is ultimately reached between the union and the AMPTP, the terms of that contract will take precedence over the terms of the interim agreement.
Crabtree Ireland explains that a streamer can pick up an interim agreement project from a fall festival and only release the project after a contract has been reached. He adds: “If the streamer’s acquisition budgets are used to purchase projects produced under our interim agreement with our members and union crews, rather than being used to acquire content from outside the United States that is not is done by a union, then that is also a net benefit to our strike effort.”
“It’s a competitive market and the expectation is that no buyer will be willing to let go of a great film if the opportunity presents itself,” says Fabien Westerhoff of Film Constellation.
Of course, all these concerns about interim agreements only apply if you can get one, and that has proven difficult. Insiders have complained about the opacity of the process and the bottleneck that appears to have been created by applications for agreements being rushed in before the autumn festivals. Interim agreements were concluded until the day before the start of TIFF.
“That’s a fair question,” Crabtree-Ireland said of the slow pace at which interim agreements are being handed out. He notes that more than 1,200 applications for interim agreements have been submitted and that scaling up the vetting process to meet that demand has proven difficult: “On one level I would just say that on one level it is the impact of our own success.”
For some filmmakers behind TIFF sales titles, the mark of a successful interim deal is helping to get the project sold, and this remains to be seen as the market is only just getting started. Still, others see the interim agreements as proof-of-concept for the terms SAG is fighting for.
“Whoever buys this film will of course have to accept the agreement. I, as one of the producers, would never approve of anything else, absolutely not. We will do things absolutely right,” said Viggo Mortensen, member of SAG-AFTRA and the WGA. THR before TIFF. Mortensen is at the party with his latest directorial effort The dead don’t hurt, which can be picked up. “If they (distributors) don’t do that, we will have to look for someone else. That’s how it goes.”
Alex Ritman and Etan Vlessing contributed to this report.