In an unprecedented move to recover residual payments owed its members by deadbeat indie film producers, SAG announced Wednesday that it had offered rights to seven films that had defaulted on residuals payments at the union’s first public foreclosure auction.
The seven indie pics offered for sale aren’t blockbusters, but a few do include some well-known talent.
The first pic to sell, “Blood Money” (1996), starred James Brolin. Still available are several more: “The Linguini Incident” (1991) highlights Rosanna Arquette and David Bowie, while “Traveller” (1997) showcases Mark Wahlberg and Bill Paxton. There’s even a script by the irascible Joe Eszterhas, “Telling Lies in America” (1997), which features a young Brad Renfro and the ubiquitous Kevin Bacon.
Auction occurred July 13 at the union’s Los Angeles headquarters.
Under terms of SAG’s collective bargaining agreement, producers frequently guarantee payments to performers and use the film rights as a form of collateral. When producers defaulted on more than $400,000 in residuals payments, SAG began pursuing the delinquent residuals until exercising its option to foreclose was the only remaining option.
Innovative and aggressive effort is meant to send a message to producers in delinquency that the union will not stand idly by as members are deprived of the full compensation owed them for their work.
“Recouping lost wages through foreclosure will be an ongoing course of action for Screen Actors Guild,” said SAG deputy assistant general counsel Duncan Crabtree-Ireland. “Producers who do not take their contractual responsibilities seriously must understand that this was not a one-time event. We will protect our members from problem producers who have a track record of not paying our members for their work.”
“Blood Money” was sold at the July 13 auction to Screen Media Ventures for a five-figure sum.
The remaining six will be sold privately through a sales agent to maximize the amount ultimately returned to members still owed residuals. The total sales figure will be available in early 2005 when the process is completed.