SAG-AFTRA issued a statement on Thursday evening to encourage members to promote and audition for approved interim agreement productions, as a means of “strengthening the union’s bargaining position and demonstrating solidarity.”
The guild’s statement provides guidance in regards to the matter of promoting a project with an interim agreement, which has been a matter of contention among some SAG-AFTRA members since the strike began in July. Stars such as Sarah Silverman and Viola Davis have publicly questioned whether SAG-AFTRA members working under those circumstances would be appropriate.
For projects to obtain an interim agreement from the guild, a producer must operate independently from companies belonging to the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and agree to terms proposed by SAG-AFTRA in its negotiations with the AMPTP.
“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 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 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 release comes as the film industry prepares for the fall festival season, with events in Venice, Telluride and Toronto kicking off over the next few weeks. Film festivals represent major launching pads for projects seeking distribution or looking to make a splash in the awards race. The matter of SAG-AFTRA members being allowed to promote in Toronto, Telluride and Venice has been a major question mark since the strike began — the guild’s new statement represents a push that would lead to some level of talent being on the ground at festivals, provided that their productions have obtained interim agreements.