During the current strike, SAG-AFTRA has given the green light to 39 independent productions that are not tied to AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers) companies. These projects have received approval to proceed under certain conditions and will follow the terms of the latest offer submitted by SAG-AFTRA during contract negotiations. Among the approved films are “Mother Mary” and “Death of a Unicorn,” both produced by A24, starring renowned actors like Anne Hathaway, Michaela Coel, Paul Rudd, and Jenna Ortega.
The strike, which marks the first time in 43 years that SAG-AFTRA has taken such action, focuses on critical issues within the entertainment industry, including artificial intelligence, streaming revenue sharing, and minimum wage increases to keep up with inflation. SAG-AFTRA’s chief negotiator, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, has actively encouraged actors to participate in independent projects that meet the union’s terms. By doing so, the union aims to challenge the studio’s claim that their demands are “unrealistic.”
To be eligible for an interim agreement or waiver, projects must be independently produced without any AMPTP involvement. SAG-AFTRA will grant as many interim agreements as possible to truly independent productions. The union’s staff carefully reviews each application to ensure compliance with their criteria. Approved projects will be retroactively bound to the contract terms reached with the studios and streaming platforms once a new contract is established.
While hundreds of applications have already been received, a preliminary list of approved productions is expected to be released publicly by SAG-AFTRA soon. The union’s rules allow provable independent, non-AMPTP productions to continue filming under the now-expired TV/Theatrical Agreements and related contracts. However, certain lowest-budget agreements, such as the Short Project Agreement, the Micro Budget Agreement, the Student Film Agreement, and the Independent New Media Agreement, are exempt from the strike.
Given the current situation, SAG-AFTRA acknowledges that some may attempt to abuse the interim agreements. Therefore, the union’s board has the authority to adjust strike rules as needed.
The approval of these independent productions offers a unique opportunity for actors and filmmakers to work during the strike while maintaining their commitment to the union’s objectives. By supporting projects that are not associated with AMPTP companies, SAG-AFTRA aims to strike a balance between advocating for fair terms for its members and allowing legitimate independent productions to continue their work. The strike’s outcome will undoubtedly shape the future landscape of the entertainment industry, impacting both major studios and aspiring independent creators alike.