With one week of negotiations to go until SAG-AFTRA’s contract expires on June 30 and Hollywood still clueless on whether the actors will join the writers and go on strike, the actors guild is understood to be preparing interim agreements that will allow true independent productions to go ahead.
The interim agreements – SAG issued exemptions during the 2000 strike – would only apply to productions without any connection to a studio or streamer or any distributor linked to strike negotiator Alliance Of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).
That means independent shoots would in theory be able to get a bond – the guarantee to a bank that a production will come in on time and on budget – which is a lynchpin of the production finance process.
Over the past two months Screen has reported that bonding companies were not issuing bonds for any production that had not completed production by June 30. However in Cannes sources started to talk about exceptions.
Sources said SAG-AFTRA has come under pressure from members to allow them to work during a strike if they are not employed by a struck company.
“This is SAG recognising that the indies don’t have a seat at the negotiating table and shouldn’t be adversely impacted by a strike,” said one source in the bond community.
The guild did not comment on the matter when approached by Screen, however its website said it anticipates issuing interim agreements for independent productions to go ahead during a strike so long as producers agree to whichever terms SAG-AFTRA is demanding from AMPTP.
At time of writing Screen understood no interim agreements had been signed and it was not clear what the terms would be as SAG-AFTRA has been negotiating under a media blackout.
The stipulation that a production must be truly independent is stringent. Sources with knowledge of the matter have confirmed there can be no connection to a studio or streamer or any distributor represented in strike talks by AMPTP; nor can there be a pre-sale to a studio in even a single international territory.