SAG-AFTRA Encourages Members to Promote Projects With Interim Agreements at Fall Film Festivals

SAG-AFTRA is reiterating that it is giving the 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 is encouraging members to do publicity for projects that have been granted these pacts — which require titles to agree to conditions that SAG-AFTRA is seeking 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.

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“We are proud of our members who demonstrate the various ways to bolster the strike effort,” national executive director and 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.”

Crabtree-Ireland’s statement comes as many in the industry have been expressing frustration and confusion with the interim agreement process.

Interim agreements for publicity have begun to trickle in, with Venice-bound projects like Ferrari (distributed by Neon in the U.S.) and A24’s Priscilla having signed the pacts, meaning talents like Adam Driver and Jacob Elordi could be making their way to the Lido. But, according to sources, the process to ascertain agreements for fall festival publicity has been frustratingly slow, leaving projects in a state of limbo. Everything from planning press to booking travel and accommodations is left until the last minute.

“Everyone is operating like no [onscreen] talent is going to these festivals,” says a buyer. For films that are seeking distribution, the hope is that talent’s presence and the publicity that comes with it will up the chance of landing a buyer.

But signing interim agreements, which are composed of terms that have already been rejected by the AMPTP, has also raised questions about the possibility of acquisition from an AMPTP studio. Buyers of films that have signed interim agreements will need to adhere to the terms laid out in the agreements, said Crabtree Ireland during an Aug. 15 press conference. He added that he didn’t think it is likely that studios would be eager to acquire projects that have signed interim agreements: “The likelihood that an AMPTP [company] is going to platform projects that they are going to have to pay for revenue share on during the strike is, in my view, minimal or nonexistent.”

Since the performers union began granting them weeks into the strike, interim agreements have been a controversial tactic. The union has maintained that the pacts prove that SAG-AFTRA’s aims in its current negotiations with the AMPTP are reasonable and realizable, and that these agreements keep actors and crewmembers working and help stem the tide of runaway production to other countries. Critics, meanwhile, have suggested that allowing certain productions to continue with various stars undercuts the impact of the strike, especially if interim agreement projects are eventually bought and distributed by AMPTP member companies.

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