SAG-AFTRA Says Fall Film Festival Buyers Will Have To Adhere To Union’s Terms To Make Deals

Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator for SAG-AFTRA, confirmed Tuesday that fall festival buyers will need to agree to the terms proposed for the guild’s new contract before acquiring projects being promoted under an interim agreement.

“The contract contains assumption provisions which require any party that acquires rights under that collective bargaining agreement to assume the obligation to pay the residuals that are required by the contract,” Crabtree-Ireland said today during an on-the-record chat with press on Zoom.

The meeting was part of an ongoing campaign on the guild’s part to demystify the interim agreements, and the guild’s thinking around them. The agreements have proven a lightning-rod topic since the actors strike broke out last month, as some have questioned how projects from a company like A24, or to be distributed by the likes of New Line, can wind up on the same list as an ultra-low-budget indie, also wondering aloud whether the issuance of these agreements might prolong the strike.

Part of the intention of SAG-AFTRA in granting them, which Crabtree-Ireland underscored today, has been to keep members afloat in otherwise financially unstable times. As the guild’s TV/Theatrical Negotiating Committee has previously stated, “The Interim Agreement gives many of our journeyman performers and crews the opportunity to pay their rent and feed their families. This approach maintains our strength, solidarity and upper hand with the AMPTP until they yield to the deal we deserve.”

Another facet to the drive with the agreements has been to “undermine the production slates” of the studios and streamers, per the guild, thereby hopefully securing a more swift end to the strike.

Perhaps most critically, though, seeing indie producers agree to the guild’s proposed terms through the interim agreement is “absolute proof,” per Crabtree-Ireland, that the terms in question are “not only realistic, but actually desirable and usable by producers in this industry.”

SAG-AFTRA began assigning agreements to projects from “truly independent” producers, with no affiliation to the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, near the start of the strike on July 14, with over 200 having been handed out as of Monday. 

“Whenever an agreement is ultimately reached with the AMPTP,” said Crabtree-Ireland, “the terms of the interim agreement and that agreement will merge, so the ultimate agreement with the AMPTP will govern interim agreements, as well, on a going-forward basis, from the point at which that deal was reached.”

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