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Unions flex their muscles as Hollywood scrambles to get back to work



Unions flex their muscles as Hollywood scrambles to get back to work

For an industry that is on its knees, anxiously awaiting the closure of a coronavirus that has left thousands of entertainment workers unemployed, it’s not just a place of good news but a lucrative offer.

Just before Remembrance Day, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced during the Zoom session with entertainment supporters including Netflix Content Head Ted Sarandos and Oscar-nominated director Ava DuVernay that in a few days, the state would issue guidelines allowing many countries to resume production, some of which last week this.

Unfortunately, that never happened.

Almost immediately after the news broke, the chorus of the union representatives weighed, making the brakes on each production imminent.

“No, the industry will not open on Monday,” said Steve Dayan, leading secretary-treasurer of Teamster Local 399, who represented the casting director, location manager and driver. “We work all the time to solve this. We need to protect our crew, but also have an obligation to protect the public. “

Newsom quickly and publicly resumed its plans. “We hope to issue the guidelines as early as today,” he said during a press conference on Tuesday. “We want to extend it to the end of this week, maybe until the weekend, because we work with industry and the workforce and they want to tighten some aspects of their guidelines.”

It was a dramatic face, but the pushback also showed the influence of the Hollywood union and the central role they played in determining when and how the production spun again.

“That [Hollywood] trade unions are in a position to promote safety from a national perspective in a way that most unions do not have, “said Kevin Klowden, executive director of the Milken Institute Regional Economic Center. “This is important because in this situation they suddenly become much stronger than expected.”

By highlighting health and safety issues, this pandemic has increased the important role of trade unions in creating safe working conditions. But while the current situation can make unions more leveraged, it has also created a raft of unprecedented challenges in balancing their dual role as job keepers – and safe working conditions.

For decades, when the authority and influence of organized labor in most sectors of the American economy had diminished, Hollywood unions and trade unions continued to be assertive. They have a voice in almost every aspect of filmmaking, from makeup artists to actors to master prop.

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“In many ways, this has to be the domain of the union,” said Kate Fortmueller, a professor of entertainment and media studies at the University of Georgia who focuses on employment issues.

“For decades, they have seen and implemented policies and procedures to ensure established security. That’s a big part of what they do, “he said. But he noted, with regard to the pandemic,” There are many stakeholders who are interested in making plans so that people can work. ”

In recent weeks, unions and guilds have been working separately and together, forming an industrial safety committee task force to develop a white paper to be submitted to the governors of California and New York. Various studios and production companies have also made their own plans.

Apart from reports of turf battles, the DGA, SAG-AFTRA and IATSE unions, representing crew technicians, issued a joint statement Wednesday said it had collaborated with “unprecedented frequency and productivity” in the proposed white paper. “We all want people to get back to work as soon as possible, but we have to do it right,” they said.

At present, there are many proposals being discussed but there is no uniform set of guidelines, no determination on how much these new measures will cost or who will pay for them. In addition, there was no official signing of them.

Earlier this month, the initial draft production protocol discussed at Lionsgate was leak out. Among his recommendations: computer-generated extra use instead of background actors, scouting the location of virtual reality and the adoption of “French hours,” limit shooting to 10 hours a day and give the crew a lunch break.

Other ideas that circulated between the studio and the production company included having the actor do his own hair and makeup and use a smaller crew.

Trade unions, surprisingly, have pushed back.

This month, SAG-AFTRA warned its members not to accept jobs without first consulting with the union. In a notification sent to members, he said, “No member must return to work under an existing contract or accept a contract for a new job without first securing union approval.”

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Hollywood’s largest union states that it wants to evaluate whether the employer’s production plan complies with safety protocols, state and federal guidelines and collective bargaining agreements. They also warned members not to give up employers’ responsibility for their health and safety.

In recent weeks, as several countries have been racing against production, touting incentives, facilities, low COVID-19 numbers, testing and measures to keep production safe and minimizing outbreaks, other unions are considering.

IATSE, which has employed epidemiologists to help formulate the reopening procedures, warned that the guidelines would eventually apply regardless of where the shooting took place, whether it was Georgia or Iceland.

The best course of action for unions is that although they have a lot of strength, they also have members who have been unemployed for months and are itching to return to work. In ensuring the safety of its members, unions must also be careful not to place too many burdensome conditions on the process, or they risk alienating members.

“Everyone wants to come back and make money, but we all want to live too, and we want everyone who works with us to be safe,” said Gary Lennon, showrunner in the Starz series “Hightown.” “I think there is a middle ground [and] we all have to meet there. I don’t think the union will be greedy. I think to get back to work all parties must bend. Yes, the union is in a strong position. But if the union is too difficult, we will not go back to work and it is not in the interest of anyone. “

This balancing act may require the union to make short-term concessions, but it can be difficult to recalibrate after everything returns to normal resemblance, Fortmueller said. For example, if they agree to use technology rather than background actors to reduce exposure, “How do you implement it without losing strength in the future?”

Ivy Kagan Bierman, an entertainment lawyer and partner based in Los Angeles at Loeb & Loeb, said the union was aware that their members wanted to work once more. “They know they want and need to go back to work and want to make sure they do it safely,” he said.

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Trade unions have the right to protect working conditions, as part of their collective bargaining agreement, said Bierman. At the same time, he believes that it is in their best interest to work collaboratively with the studio and other players to reach mutual agreement.

“I think it will hurt them more than helping them if they don’t do that, if members feel the union is blocking work and if the company does what they need to do to create a safe workplace,” he said.

Meanwhile, most trade union representatives argue that they can and will be able to provide reasonable solutions to protect the work and safety of members.

“It is in the best interest of everyone, both employers and workers, to produce the safest way possible to make this work and provide the same quality with the same efficiency as we always do,” said John Lindley, national president of the International Sinematographers Guild. “We can innovate ways to do it safely with the same crew that we have traditionally worked for.

“The biggest obstacle that might occur is if we return to work unsafe and sick people,” he said. “That is the obstacle that I fear and I think everyone. That is why this protocol takes a long time to be relevant and accurate and up to date. “

However you look at it, this pandemic will trigger dramatic changes in TV and film production. But this was revealed, unions tend to be in control.

“Trade unions have a far greater impact than [at] a meat packing factory or a joint car body shop, “Klowden said. “That is an important thing to remember. If a production is off track due to infection, you cannot move it to another factory. You can change the city but not the people. That is what gives unions more influence. “

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Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.



Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.

Method Media Bermuda will present the documentary FABRIC: Portuguese History in Bermuda on Thursday, December 29 at the Underwater Research Institute of Bermuda.

A spokesperson said: “Method Media is proud to bring Bermuda Fabric: Portugal History to Bermuda for its 5th and 6th showing at the Bermuda Underwater Observatory. In November and December 2019, Cloth: A Portuguese Story in Bermuda had four sold-out screenings. Now that Bermuda has reopened after the pandemic, it’s time to bring the film back for at least two screenings.

“There are tickets For $ 20 – sessions at 15:30 and 18:00. Both screenings will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Director and producer Milton Raboso says, “FABRIC is a definitive account of the Portuguese community in Bermuda and its 151 years of history, but it also places Bermuda, Acors and Portugal in the world history and the events that have fueled those 151 years.

“It took more than 10 years to implement FABRIC. The film was supported by the Minister of Culture, the Government of the Azores and private donors.

Bermuda Media Method [MMB] Created in 2011 by producer Milton Raposo. MMB has created content for a wide range of clients: Bermuda’s new hospital renovation, reinsurance, travel campaigns, international sports and more. MMB pays special attention to artistic, cultural and historical content.

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Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.



Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

Maestro Filipe Cunha, Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Braga, has been invited to conduct the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, as announced today.

According to a statement sent by O MINHO, “he will be the first Portuguese conductor to conduct this orchestra in its entire history.”

In addition to this orchestra, the maestro will also work with the Lyceo Mozarteum de la Habana Symphony Orchestra.

The concerts will take place on 4 and 12 March 2023 at the National Theater of Cuba in Havana.

In the words of the maestro, quoted in the statement, “these will be very beautiful concerts with difficult but very complex pieces” and therefore he feels “very motivated”.

From the very beginning, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 will be performed by an Italian pianist (Luigi Borzillo), whom the maestro wants to bring to Portugal later this year. In the same concert, Mendelshon’s First Symphony will be performed.

Then, at the second concert, in the company of the Mexican clarinetist Angel Zedillo, he will perform the Louis Sfora Concerto No. 2. In this concert, the maestro also conducts Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

“This is an international recognition of my work. An invitation that I accept with humility and great responsibility. I was surprised to learn that I would be the first Portuguese member of the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. This is a very great honor,” the maestro said in a statement.

“I take with me the name of the city of Braga and Portugal with all the responsibility that goes with it, and I hope to do a good job there, leaving a good image and putting on great concerts. These will be very special concerts because, in addition to performing pieces that I love, especially Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, I will be directing two wonderful soloists who are also my friends. It will be very beautiful,” concludes Filipe Cunha.

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