Deal possible violation of SAG rules

Did they or didn’t they?

Two weeks after announcing an investment by Intl. Creative Management into Razorfish Studios and one week after an official inquiry by the Screen Actors Guild, a public relations rep for Razorfish disavowed the Nov. 30 press release.

“The release was in error because I was overzealous,” Jeff Canzona said. “I’m sorry.”

Canzona offered no comment about why it had taken two weeks to correct the story, and ICM and SAG had no official comment. But union insiders said the announcement had raised red flags because of a possible violation of SAG’s financial-interest rules governing tenpercenters.

The union notified ICM in writing last week and asked for a response to its concerns that the deal could run counter to SAG’s regulations barring agents from owning production companies. Razorfish Studios produces, develops and acquires entertainment properties and owns Self-Timer Films, one of the producers of “Being John Malkovich” and “American Movie.”

Part B of Section XVI of the SAG rules begins, “An agent or an owner of an interest in an agent shall not be an active motion picture producer.” Violating the rules can lead to an agency losing its franchise.

The disavowal comes amid an increasingly difficult relationship between SAG and agents. In early November, negotiations began between SAG and the Assn. of Talent Agents to revamp the six-decade-old rules covering what agencies can commission and invest in. At that point, 17 of the 33 issues on the table had not been resolved.

No new talks have been scheduled even though the regulations officially expired Oct. 20 with a 15-month cancellation period now in effect. The ATA has advised members to continue operating “business as usual.”

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