Small programming note for anyone minding the business goings-on with the 27th edition of Fantasia. The festival announced over the weekend that Nicolas Cage is rescinding his invite to this year’s festivities in response to the SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists ).
We’re sad to announce that due to the SAG-AFTRA strike, Nicolas Cage will no longer be able to attend the festival next weekend. We’ll be updating our website regularly as we receive news from other announced guests while circumstances evolve. Our hearts are with the actors, as well as with the WGA, and we hope to see the unions get a fair deal soon.
Cage was set to receive the Cheval Noir Career Achievement Award at Fantasia, which is also screening his latest film from director Yuval Adler, Sympathy For The Devil. The film also stars Joel Kinnaman and is set for release in the U.S. from RLJE Films in the next few weeks.
Actors and members of the union joined the picket lines with members of Writers Guild Of America on Friday last week. The move marked a historical event with the two guilds protesting in unison for the first time in 63 years, with the WGA already in its 11th week of protests against the AMPTP (Alliance Of Motion Picture and Television Producers) in an effort toward better pay and residuals in the wake of streaming, amid billions of dollars in bonuses for CEOs.
SAG-AFTRA, led by President Fran Drescher, led the charge last week in joining the WGA after talks with the AMPTP failed last week. Among key concerns, according to multiple news outlets, issued by SAG-AFTRA is a key item deliniated by AMPTP described as “a groundbreaking AI proposal which protects performers’ digital likenesses, including a requirement for performer’s consent for the creation and use of digital replicas or for digital alterations of a performance.”
SAG-AFTRA National Exec Director and chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland responded with the following with reporting via Deadline‘s Anthony D’Alessandro.
“The companies refuse to recognize that you can’t expect people to sign over their name, image, likeness and voice, their persona to some corporate conglomerate with no right to ever say what they’re going to do with it in the future,” said Crabtree-Ireland.
“That is not going to happen, we are not going to agree to terms like that, so the companies have to move in our direction and come up with some reasonable agreement,” he added.
“We didn’t come into this negotiation saying ‘Let’s ban AI’,” explained Crabtree-Ireland.
“We came into this negotiation saying that AI has to be done in a way that respects actors, respects their human rights to their own bodies, voice, image and likeness.”
“Nothing less than that is going to be acceptable.”
A statement by AMPTP responding to the strike reads via Deadline‘s Erik Pedersen, in part:
“…A strike is certainly not the outcome we hoped for as studios cannot operate without the performers that bring our TV shows and films to life. The Union has regrettably chosen a path that will lead to financial hardship for countless thousands of people who depend on the industry.”
Par for the course with the SAG-AFTRA strike is the halting and rescindence of any and all production, campaigning or any promotional events of any kind. Filming has since stopped on productions including but not limited to Mortal Kombat 2 and Deadpool 3, as well as pending sequels to Gladiator and Twister. You can learn more about the strike regulations here.
Native New Yorker. Lover of all things pizza, chocolate, pets, and good friends. Karaoke hero. Left of center. Survivor. Fond supporter of cult, obscure and independent cinema - especially fond of Asian movies and global action cinema. Author of the bi-weekly Hit List. Founder and editor of Film Combat Syndicate. Still, very much, only human.