Press release from SPAA/MEAA

Producer representatives, the Screen Producers Association of Australia (SPAA) and the Independent Producers Initiative (IPI), and the actors’ union, the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) have reached agreement on the renewal of the Actors Feature Film Agreement (AFFA) after two years of negotiations. Both producers and actors have made concessions and received benefits in return.

Equity Director, Sue McCreadie said, “This agreement represents a growing spirit of collaboration between actors and producers, and a willingness to work together to enhance opportunities for the Australian production sector as a whole. We have secured a brand new revenue stream for actors along with a significant wage increase in exchange for concessions which should assist the local industry.” Actors will participate in the success of Australian films in North America by getting a share of the revenue from that territory after four years.

SPAA Production Executive, Owen Johnston said, “SPAA has secured a commitment from the union to help Australian films be more competitive in a rapidly globalising market.” Equity has agreed to allow Australian residual conditions to apply on higher budget films employing foreign actors by raising the threshold from $15 million to $22.5 million. “SPAA continues to show leadership in providing the necessary tools for producers to effectively engage with the international market,” said Johnston. “This agreement will lead to more opportunities right across the industry for Australian actors, writers, directors and crew. ”

IPI spokesman, Ben Grant added, “This agreement is fair and important for the health of the independent sector. You cannot underestimate how critical industrial certainty is, when you are trying to raise finance in a complex and difficult international market. It is important that producers and performers have worked together to achieve this hugely beneficial outcome ”

The key points in a raft of agreements are: a 17.5% wage increase over 5 years, payment to performers of a 3.6% royalty from North American distributors gross receipts after 4 years from 1st exploitation in that market, an increase in the superannuation cap, and an increase in the SAG Global Rule 1 exemption budget level threshold from $15 million to $22.5 million. The new agreement is effective from January 1, 2012, with films already financed ‘grandfathered’ from the new rates.

All parties concurred that this agreement came at a critical time for the Australian film industry, with the digital revolution fundamentally changing the way in which all programs, including films, are made and seen with digital multi channels and multi platforms. SPAA and the MEAA have commenced negotiations for the renewal of the Actor’s Television Agreement (ATPA) and the Repeats and Residuals Agreement (ATRRA) to maximise opportunities for Australian content in the digital age

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