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Local impact on filming after IATSE strike authorization

Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 5:59 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Tens of thousands of film and television workers in the U.S. could soon go on strike.

This comes after members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Union approved to authorize a strike. The Union says at issue - health and safety, plus quality of life issues for TV and film industry workers, including meal breaks and days off.

The strike authorization comes after negotiations with the group representing producers broke down. Both sides were negotiating overtime, on-set conditions, and contributions to health and pension benefits.

This all means many Hollywood productions could stop for a good amount of time.

Locally, four TV and film productions are currently getting permits from the City of Savannah. That’s according to Savannah’s Office of Special Events, Film & Tourism.

Those productions are The Girl from Plainville, The Menu, The Accursed and Paradise City. The city says all of these productions have some workers part of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Union.

The Savannah Film Alliance founder says he’s hearing the union and TV producers have been behind closed doors for three days non-stop, which he says he takes as a very good sign.

“I think that both sides are highly motivated to try to reach an agreement without a strike. So I’m very hopeful that will get done. I think that within a week we’re going to know definitively one way or the other,” said Charles Bowen, founder of the Savannah Film Alliance.

The film industry in Savannah and across the state generate big bucks. This summer, the Georgia Department of Economic Development announced the 2021 fiscal year the film and tv industry spent 4-billion dollars on productions in the Peach State.

Bowen says an IATSE union-wide strike would most certainly be a huge hit to 90 percent of total productions across the country. But he adds the affect here might look a little different.

“It’s important to remember that this strike will impact major studio motion pictures and television shows. And that’s simply not the majority of what we have filming in Savannah.”

Bowen points out most of what films in Savannah are not major studio productions, rather, independent films shows.

“One of the reasons we don’t have as much studio production here in Savannah is because we don’t have any sound stages or infrastructure to support it. So it is interesting that this may be one rare circumstance where Savannah’s lack of infrastructure can actually work in its favor.”

Bowen pointed out most of what gets filmed here in Savannah is done on location, which normally attracts smaller, independent films.

So again, Bowen believes the impact a strike could have on our area would be less than in the Atlanta area, where larger-scale productions are done.

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