Guild upping profile for Holland's thesps

Holland’s film biz has no star system — one of the reasons given for the underperformance of Dutch pics in this territory. But, ACT, the Dutch guild of film and television actors, wants to change all that.

ACT wants to become “the Dutch answer to the Screen Actors Guild in the U.S. or Equity in the U.K.,” says Maartin Schwab, an ACT board member and 15-year thesp.

ACT has kept a low profile since it launched nine months ago, but on June 1 its more than 100 members gathered to air more than a few demands that producers are likely to see for the first time in Dutch history.

Among the talking points are remarkably low salaries for thesps, the lack of standard contracts, which include royalties when a film or TV series is sold abroad, the positioning of credits, use of product placement and re-use of actors’ work.

“What we want is a more professional relationship with producers. Our salaries are lower than the camera and lighting people. There are no benefits such as insurance. If we complain, we are threatened with losing our jobs,” says Schwab.

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