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SAG-AFTRA will let some members promote films at festivals

An interim agreement will allow certain SAG-AFTRA members to promote their films on the fall festival circuit.

The ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike has, for the most part, kept major names in Hollywood out of the promotional circuit, greatly limiting the exposure of their latest films. But a new interim agreement will allow them to join the festival scene – and with Toronto and Venice just around the corner, that’s big news in terms of giving an edge when it comes time for awards.

In a statement from SAG-AFTRA (via Deadline), they wrote, “From picket lines to film festivals…SAG-AFTRA members are strengthening the union’s bargaining position and demonstrating solidarity by supporting and promoting their approved Interim Agreement productions at fall festivals, including the Venice International Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival.” Venice kicks off on August 30th, while the 50th Telluride Film Festival launches the day after and TIFF begins on September 7th.

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However, there are some stipulations to this interim agreement, as they only impact producers not directly linked to studios tied to the AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers). In other words, just because films like Michael Mann’s Ferrari, David Fincher’s The Killer, Bradley Cooper’s Maestro, Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla, Craig Gillespie’s Dumb Money, Alexander Payne’s The Holdovers, and Taika Waititi’s Next Goal Wins are jockeying for awards position doesn’t mean that their stars – Adam Driver, Michael Fassbender, Bradley Cooper, Paul Dano, and Paul Giamatti among them – will have the same defined rules as independent studios. Adding to their statement, SAG-AFTRA said, “This contract is available only to independent producers looking to employ our members on specific productions, and it helps the union achieve its goals by putting pressure on the AMPTP and the struck companies while demonstrating that our proposals are reasonable.”

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This agreement related to fall film festivals is one of the latest exemptions related to what actors can and cannot do amid the strike, now well over a month old and nearing day 50. Such exemptions have been a topic of debate within the industry, with the likes of Viola Davis and Sarah Silverman – who appears in Cooper’s Maestro (which has its own controversy going on) – showing their disapproval.

What are your thoughts on the exemption that certain SAG-AFTRA members can promote their films on the festival circuit? Do you think such exemptions are a good idea? Give us your take below!

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