Producers pitch SAG for waivers

Interim pacts sought; 2,000 deals made during ad protest

In a development that could give the Screen Actors Guild significant leverage at the bargaining table, nearly 200 independent producers have sought waivers from SAG to continue production if SAG goes on strike after its June 30 film-TV contract expiration.

Producers seeking the interim deals have been told that SAG’s national board is expected to issue a policy decision on the waiver question at its March 31 meeting in Los Angeles. The Guild began receiving waiver requests from producers in January.

SAG has typically “floated” interim deals during previous strikes, with producers agreeing either to terms of the union’s final offer at the bargaining table or to terms of the final settlement between SAG and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers. During last year’s strike against advertisers, SAG signed more than 2,000 such deals.

Should SAG grant film-TV waivers, it could open the door for for top-line talent to work on projects during the strike with independents who are not signatory to the AMPTP agreement.

“If the strike happens, it could be a big advantage for producers like us,” said George Zaloom, who is directing and co-producing “Last Leg” for Robert Schwartz’ Wardenclyffe Entertainment. He added that the film, which focuses on a man who loses his prosthetic leg, would start shooting in July if a waiver is granted.

The Writers Guild of America, which faces a May 2 contract expiration, has also not yet decided if it will issue interim deals.

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