MEAA strikes new deal for crew working on international features
Isabela Moner in ‘Dora the Explorer’ (Photo: Paramount Pictures).
The US majors and other international producers who plan to shoot feature films in Australia will no longer have to negotiate fees for each production with local crews.
The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance has struck an in-principle deal with the six Hollywood studios for a template agreement covering crew working on features budgeted above $15 million.
MEAA members also voted to extend the template agreement to other offshore film producers.
Legendary Entertainment’s Godzilla vs. Kong, which was lured to Queensland by the federal government’s Location Incentive Program, will probably be the first production to take advantage of the new agreement.
The four-year deal, which will run until June 30 2022, includes a guaranteed 2 per cent annual increase in minimum rates which will be separate from any margins negotiated for individuals. For those employed on a daily basis the minimum rate is the same as the weekly rate (pro-rata) plus a 25 per cent casual loading.
While there were some compromises on conditions, the agreement contains improvements to the original proposal by the studios in April including sixth-day overtime, public holiday penalties, provision of meals and two-day turnaround,
“A template offshore agreement has been years in the making, with the purpose of providing greater certainty and transparency for crew and the studios when planning international productions in Australia,” the MEAA told members.
“Congratulations to members and the offshore negotiating committee for their work in achieving this breakthrough for the Australian industry.”
The union is yet to officially unveil the new agreement, pending final approval, but has regularly updated its members on the state of negotiations and the terms of the template. As well as giving certainty to Hollywood and other international producers, it will be widely welcomed by Ausfilm and Australian technicians, studios and facilities.
In June, pre-production crew narrowly voted in favour of the producer’s proposed agreement for Paramount Pictures’ feature Dora the Explorer, which was shot on the Gold Coast.
At the time the MEAA said the margin of just three votes demonstrated the instability in the current process of single enterprise bargaining for the sector.
Directed by James Bobin (The Muppets, Muppets Most Wanted, Alice Through the Looking Glass), the live-action version of the Nickelodeon series stars Isabela Moner (Transformers: The Last Knight, Sicario: Day of the Soldado) as Dora, a teenage explorer who sets off on an adventure with her monkey Boots and cousin Diego.
The cast includes Micke Morena, Eugenio Derbez and Madeleine Madden. The Queensland government stepped in to top up the Location Offset after the federal government declined to do so.