SAG-AFTRA reiterates that it is giving green light to actors to promote their projects with interim agreements at major fall film festivals.
The union said in a statement Thursday that it encourages members to publicize projects that have been awarded these pacts, which require those titles to agree to terms that SAG-AFTRA is pursuing in ongoing negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television. Producers, at the Telluride Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival and Venice International Film Festival.
“We are proud of our members demonstrating the different ways to strengthen strike efforts,” National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said in a statement. “Whether it’s walking a picket line, working on Interim Agreement approved productions, or maintaining employment under one of our other permitted, unfulfilled contracts, our members’ support for their union is empowering and inspiring.”
The Crabtree-Ireland statement comes at a time when many in the industry have expressed frustration and confusion over the interim deal process.
Interim publicity deals are starting to trickle in, with projects like Venice Ferrari (distributed by Neon in the US) and A24s Priscilla after the deals are signed, meaning talents like Adam Driver and Jacob Elordi could find their way to the Lido. But according to sources, the process of arranging fall festival publicity is frustratingly slow, leaving projects in a state of uncertainty. Everything from scheduling the press to booking travel and accommodations is postponed to the last minute.
“Everyone pretends that no talent goes to these festivals,” says a buyer. For films seeking distribution, the hope is that the presence of talent and the associated publicity will increase the likelihood of a buyer.
But the signing of interim agreements, which consist of terms already rejected by the AMPTP, has also raised questions about the possibility of acquiring an AMPTP studio. Film buyers who have signed interim agreements will have to abide by the terms set out in the agreements, Crabtree Ireland said at an August 15 press conference. He added that he did not consider it likely that studios would be eager to acquire projects that have signed interim agreements: “The likelihood that an AMPTP (company) will platform projects for which they will have to pay for the revenue share on during the strike is down to my opinion minimal or non-existent.”
Ever since the artists’ union began allowing them weeks after the strike, interim agreements have been a controversial tactic. The union has maintained that the pacts prove that SAG-AFTRA’s goals in current negotiations with the AMPTP are reasonable and achievable, and that these agreements keep actors and crew members employed and help stem the tide of runaway production to other countries to turn. Critics, meanwhile, have suggested that allowing certain productions to continue with different stars undermines the strike’s impact, especially if interim deal projects end up being bought and distributed by AMPTP member companies.