Oz actors, producers reach pic deal

10% of producers' cut will go into shared pot for thesps

SYDNEY — An 18-month dispute between Australian actors and producers was settled Thursday at a meeting of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission after thesps dropped a demand for an 8.33% cut of a film’s net profits.

Instead, they will receive 10% from the producers’ cut, which will go into a pot for actors to share. The producers usually take half the profits from a pic, with the other going to investors, who were unwilling to give up any of their upside.

Deal, which will run through 2009, must be ratified by members of the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance, the Screen Producers Assn. of Australia and the Independent Producers Initiative.

“We have the framework of a deal,” said SPAA exec director Geoff Brown. “A good deal of compromise was required on both sides.”

As MEAA Equity division director Simon Whipp acknowledged, “This is the worst time ever in the film industry to be negotiating (over profits) because there is so little production and producers are finding it difficult to obtain finance and distribution.”

Whipp said the new pact also gives thesps an improved cut of license fees for films sold to U.S. networks, an annual pay hike of 4% and 15% of Oz broadcasting fees for additional runs of films aired on local nets after the initial five-year license period.

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