Screen Producers Australia, an Australian guild, moved quickly on Friday to explain that wholly local film and TV productions, even if they involve Screen Actors Guild members, can continue to roll despite the SAG-AFTRA strike notice and order, which has been in place since midnight Pacific time.
The English-speaking country has an oversize production and post-production sector, with much of it set up to service inbound foreign productions, sometimes known as “runaway productions.”
Strike orders “will apply to some scripted TV and feature films produced in Australia. SPA anticipates that a limited number of scripted ‘offshore’ (i.e. non-Australian) productions will be affected by the strike, with cast and crew stood down while the strike continues,” the SPA notice says.
The “Mortal Kombat 2” movie and the “Apples Never Fall” series appear to be the highest profile productions where work in Australia is halted.
Australian media reported that production on Peacock’s “Apples Never Fall” stopped at 5 p.m. local time on Friday. The show’s star, Annette Bening, reportedly said goodbye to cast and crew on the Gold Coast on Thursday and planned to fly out of the country on Friday. Production had been scheduled to continue until August.
Atomic Monster’s “Mortal Kombat 2,” also filming in Queensland, was due to shoot until September.
But Screen Producers Australia makes it clear that Australian shows can continue and that SAG members can continue to work on them.
“Local scripted productions, produced and controlled by Australian production companies, engaging Australian and imported SAG members, will remain unaffected by the strike order provided they engage all cast under Australian Industry Contracts in accordance with the Global Rule One Agreement between SAG-AFTRA and the Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA).”
It notes that “the strike does not apply to non-scripted productions, including documentaries, light entertainment and reality shows.”
Some other international shows may have had a narrow escape. Season 3 of U.S. series “La Brea,” which was shooting in Queensland, wrapped in recent weeks.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Prime Video’s female-led “The Office Australia” will be unaffected by strike action because it involves no SAG members.
Elsewhere, ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists), the national union of professional performers working in recorded media in Canada, expressed its solidarity with the SAG-AFTRA strike on Thursday.
“ACTRA’s 28,000 members from across Canada stand in steadfast solidarity with SAG-AFTRA and its members in their effort to achieve a fair and equitable contract. We recognize that their fight is our fight and is for the good of all performers,” said Eleanor Noble, ACTRA national president.
“ACTRA will support SAG-AFTRA and its members by all lawful means,” Noble added. “ACTRA will support SAG-AFTRA’s refusal to issue new Global Rule One Memorandum of Understanding that undermine the strike during its duration. Together we will continue working to ensure performers are respected and achieve fair compensation for the value we bring to every production.”
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