SAG smoking over Loews

Guild objects to 'policy trailer' contest

The Screen Actors Guild has objected to a contest by Loews Cineplex Entertainment and Entertainment Weekly for amateurs to submit videos for use as “policy trailers” prior to films.

“This contest offends professional actors who give the superlative performances that attract your audience,” wrote associate national exec director John McGuire in his Sept. 7 letter to Loews CEO Lawrence Ruisi. “By encouraging the creation of amateur policy trailers, you have ignored the value that our members provide. This contest is a serious misjudgment that cheapens your exhibitor image and mocks the value of the talented professionals in motion pictures.”

The “Short Film, Big Screen” contest closes Oct. 15 and must include the following requests: “No smoking,” “Please don’t talk,” “Please deposit litter in trash cans,” “Please turn off cell phones and pagers,” “Please visit the concession stand” and “Thank you for coming to Loews Cineplex Theaters.”

The winning film is to be shown at all Loews sites and at the fifth annual Shorts Intl. Film Festival in Gotham.

Ruisi and EW prexy John Squires noted in a joint statement that the rules do not preclude SAG members from entering the contest.

“Loews Cineplex Entertainment and Entertainment Weekly intend no offense toward the members of SAG or any other professional union,” the execs said. “On the contrary, this contest celebrates the spirit of filmmakers everywhere.”

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