Having won additional payment concessions from Warner Bros so that the next Harry Potter movie can shoot, UK performers union Equity has proposed that independent producers pay its members a slice of all revenues after initial investment has been recouped in order to side-step December's strike.
Equity sent out guidelines late last week after 17 productions approached them saying that they faced collapse because of Equity's call for a member strike after December 1. Films understood to be affected by the call include BBC Films' Dirty Pretty Things, directed by Stephen Frears, and Lolafilms' The Maid Of Buttermere.
The union has offered filmmakers two choices if they want to employ actors after December: pay either a percentage of gross receipts from TV, video and DVD revenues along the lines of US union SAG's payments, or a share from all sources - including theatrical - once the initial investment has been recouped. Payments from both structures will be shared amongst performers on a points system.
Equity, which is negotiating with producers union PACT for payments from ancillary exploitation, said that the second option is designed for independent filmmakers relying on a more precarious network of financing. The first is seen as more applicable for US studio films.
The Harry Potter deal is expected to provide Equity members with SAG-style residuals from ancillary revenue streams, although Equity declined to comment on details of the agreement. "We have reached an agreement and it is an extremely good one," said Equity spokesperson Martin Brown. "All performers will benefit from the success of all Harry Potter films."
Equity said that the decision to allow films to be made does not mean that the instruction for its members not to work from December is lifted or that the dispute is over. Members are under instructions to report films that they are offered so the union can check if an agreement has been made.