22 February 2024 The Irish Film & Television Network

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SAG-AFTRA Interim Agreements: Productions allowed to continue shooting
25 Jul 2023 : Luke Shanahan
Ishana Shyamalan, director of The Watchers
SAG-AFTRA has granted waivers to independent productions who have agreed to the union’s latest contract negotiations, and are not tied to AMPTP companies.

SAG-AFTRA has approved interim agreements, or ‘waivers’, for upwards of 70 independent productions so far. These waivers allow productions that are not tied to AMPTP companies to continue shooting amid the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike. Some of the projects that have been approved are already completed, but need a waiver in order for actors to promote their respective films.

In doing this, productions are agreeing to the terms of the latest offer submitted by SAG-AFTRA during contract negotiations. Productions will also retroactively agree to whatever contract terms are ultimately achieved with the AMPTP when the strike is settled. 

Executive Director of SAG-AFTRA, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, said on a conference call with the union that actors are actively encouraged to participate in indie projects such as these. He has stated that independent productions being able to move forward on SAG-AFTRA’s terms, undermines the idea that the union’s demands are “unrealistic”.

Among the independent productions given SAG-AFTRA waivers are Irish-based production Anniversary and The Watchers.

Anniversary is an upcoming thriller described as following a very close-knit family that is torn apart as new movement “The Change” envelops the U.S. The film stars IFTA-nominee Daryl McCormack (Good Luck To You, Leo Grande), Academy Award winner Diane Lane (The Outsiders), Phoebe Dynevor (Bridgerton),  Kyle Chandler (The Wolf Of Wall Street), Madeline Brewer (The Handmaid’s Tale), Zoey Deutch (The Politician), and McKenna Grace (I, Tonya). The production is currently filming in Dublin and August.

The Watchers is Ishana Shymalan’s upcoming film, currently filming in Galway and seeking extras. The film follows Mina, a 28-year-old artist, as she gets stranded in a forest in western Ireland. After finding shelter, she becomes trapped alongside three strangers, stalked by mysterious creatures each night. The film stars Dakota Fanning (War of the Worlds), Georgina Campbell (Barbarian), and Olwen Fouéré (The Northman).

Although New Line, which is owned by Warner Bros. (an AMPTP company), is on board to distribute the film, it has been given a waiver. It is believed the reason for this is that a distribution deal has not been signed yet, and therefore it is an independent production with independent financing.

The SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes are still ongoing. SAG-AFTRA’s main points in negotiations are in relation to the regulation of artificial intelligence, streaming revenue sharing, and increases in pay minimums which reflect inflation and the rising cost of living.

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