HOLLYWOOD — The Screen Actors Guild has transferred a pair of veteran execs to head SAGIndie, the guild’s outreach arm for independent filmmakers, and relocated the operation to national headquarters in Hollywood.
Paul Bales of the theatrical contract department and Jon Brockett will run SAGIndie on an interim basis until a permanent program director is named. Shawna Brakefield, longtime director of the program, resigned the post in late March in order to return to producing when SAG brought the 5-year-old program inhouse.
Bales, who joined the guild staff in 1994, was previously a business representative; Brockett, who serves as event manager for the SAG Awards, previously worked in the New York production development department. Both report to national deputy director of contracts Sallie Weaver and SAG national director of entertainment Anne Talltree.
Pull with producers
“The guild is committed to ongoing communication with independent producers, particularly in this rapidly evolving environment in which we all work,” Weaver said. “Paul’s contract expertise and Jon’s production experience is the perfect blend to ensure the continuing success of SAGIndie.”
SAG has said its surveys show that only 25% of pics accepted into major film festivals were guild signatories before the program, compared with more than 90% currently. It signed 941 films to low-budget agreements in 1996, compared with 1,675 in 2000 and 1,791 last year.
“It looks as if we will see a small bump upward in the number this year,” Brockett said.
The indie outreach program includes monthly signatory workshops for first-time filmmakers, and partnerships with the Sundance Institute, Independent Feature Project and Columbia University. It operates through a grant by the SAG-Producers Industry Advancement and Cooperative Fund.