International acting talent and non-US movie companies are set for a boom time later this year as The Screen Actors Guild guidelines to shooting outside the US should an actors strike take place in June became clear yesterday.
The Screen Actors Guild Board of Directors issued the following position on work that may be performed by SAG members in the event of a SAG strike:
Members must provide that:
1) He or she is a foreign national
2) The film production is shot entirely overseas
3) The production is completely foreign financed
4) No domestic or foreign distribution rights are pre-sold to a US company
If these conditions are met, SAG members who commit to render these services prior to the strike may work on such productions after the strike commences.
While this obviously precludes US actors from working overseas in the event of a strike, it does mean that international production featuring non-US acting talent is set to become the world's leading form of movie production should the strike begin in June.
One Hollywood agent hinted that packages are already being put together which would fit these criteria and put particular emphasis on the American Film Market later this month as a hotbed of potential deal-making. Clearly US studios are forbidden from buying domestic or territory rights on these films, although there are no stipulations about them buying rights once the strike is over.
Cash-rich non-US companies such as Intermedia, StudioCanal, Film Four as well as all the other German entertainment companies and media funds or the UK film franchises suddenly become unprecedentedly significant. And bearing in mind that some of the hottest members of SAG right now are non-US nationals, from Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett and Jude Law to Kate Winslet, Colin Farrell, Javier Bardem, Heath Ledger, Frances O'Connor and Penelope Cruz, the potential for international movie production looks limitless.
Intermedia's Enigma, recently screened at Sundance, is a clear example of a film made within these parameters. The film was produced and financed by non-US companies (Intermedia, Jagged Films), starring British nationals (Winslet, Dougray Scott, Jeremy Northam et al) and with no US distribution attached.