With no end to the double strike on the horizon – speaking at the Toronto Film Festival on Friday, SAG-AFTRA national executive director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said he saw no sign that the major studios and streamers would be willing to back down Return to the Negotiating Table – The independent film industry is beginning to adjust to the possibility that actor and writer strikes may continue for months, perhaps well into next year. What that means for making and selling indie films is the topic of most conversations among industry executives at TIFF before screenings and over drinks.
A production delay is inevitable. In fact, it’s already happening, as many shovel-ready productions are weighing whether to seek interim agreements from unions that would allow them to continue shooting but bind them to the terms SAG announced on July 12 demanded from AMPTP, including things like using specific metrics to calculate streaming residuals, terms that the studios and streams have rejected. The ongoing writers’ strike – which has lasted more than 130 days – means no new scripts are being written. One European distributor expressed frustration at the lack of salable pre-sale projects in this year’s TIFF market. “The agencies are dusting off scripts from six to seven years ago that they couldn’t sell, hoping we’ll bite,” he noted.
International manufacturers, who are not bound by SAG guidelines and will have easier access to soft money in the form of government subsidies and tax credits, believe they could be well positioned to fill the production gap.
“We can make films and make big films,” says Louise Vesth of Denmark’s Zentropa, producer of Nicolaj Arcel’s Danish historical epic The promised land starring Mads Mikkelsen, which premiered in Venice and is showing at TIFF (the film was sold to Magnolia Pictures for the US prior to the strike). that there could be an opportunity.”
“If supply decreases now that Hollywood is on strike, we must also be ready with our products for the international market,” Francesco Rutelli, president of the Italian national audiovisual association Anica, said during a panel discussion at the Venice Film Festival last week. Nicola Maccanico, CEO of famed Rome backlot Cinecittà, said the time has come for international filmmakers to “conquer the global market.”
Speak with The Hollywood ReporterSeveral international distributors said they were already looking at non-US titles to fill out their 2024 and 2025 lists. “Everyone is watching the British, Australian and Canadian films with big stars,” said one London-based producer, who said English-language films in foreign markets can “feel Hollywood”, making them a good alternative to American films.
But Fabien Westerhoff of British production and sales group Film Constellation says he has seen several projects “exploring a shift to Europe as a location” to film during the strikes. He does not think that non-American films can replace the missing American productions in the long term. on the market.
“American productions target a specific corner of the market, so the opportunity effect for non-American films is limited from a distribution perspective.”
Alex Ritman contributed to this report.