Hollywood Week: Hollywood Union Strike Continues, Cripples Economy, Toronto Film Festival

As the SAG/AFTRA and WGA strikes continue the financial toll is bordering on disastrous and as the striking actors and writers feel the pinch, many recognizable names have donated to the industry's charitable organizations to provide assistance.

The Hollywood Strike is costing the economy nearly $150million weekly. One month ago, August 16, the strike economic losses had reached $3billion, and in two weeks, the economic losses, across the board, will total $4billion. A further prolonged strike that does not reach a conclusion before November would be catastrophic.

Hollywood Week: Hollywood Union Strike Continues, Venice Film Festival, Box Office, Danny Masterson

"Hollywood workers have taken $45 million in hardship withdrawals from the Motion Picture Industry Pension Plan since Sept. 1, according to a document compiled by plan administrators that was viewed by The New York Times. Workers have been allowed to pull $20,000 each from their retirement funds for the time being," reported The New York Times.

A growing list of A-listers who have donated to the Entertainment Community Fund and the SAG/AFTRA foundation include Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw, George and Alma Clooney, Luciana and Matt Damon, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Meryl Streep, Oprah Winfrey, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck, Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively, Julia Roberts, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Hugh Jackman and Deborh-Lee Furness, Leonardo DiCaprio, and others.

In addition to the hardship withdrawals from the Motion Picture Industry Pension Fund, the SAG/AFTRA union has seen an increase of 30 times the usual amount for emergency funding request and are averaging between 400 to 600 or more per week.

Hollywood Week: Hollywood Strike News, SAG/AFTRA, WGA, Venice Film Festival, Box Office, Jimmy Buffett

Neither the strike actors and writers' unions nor the AMPTP are in a position of power, the strike actors and writers are confronting hard economic times, and many of the recognizable names in the industry are stepping in and donating funding to bridge the economic needs of the rank and file.

The WGA has been on strike for 135 days, more than double the time of the SAG/AFTRA members. The Writer's Guild of America reached out to the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers this week, on Wednesday, to move the negotiations forward. The AMPTP agreed and the two organizations have agreed to meet sometime this week. According to the AMPTP, "Every member company of the AMPTP is committed and eager to reach a fair deal, and to working together with the WGA to end the strike." 

Rumors have been swirling regarding breakaway negotiations, the AMPTP has denied that any of its member companies are looking to initiate induvial negotiations with either the WGA or SAG/AFTRA stating that all companies are negotiating together to reach a fair deal.

Janet Walker, Screenwriter and Haute-Lifestyle.com Publisher, Interviewed for Paris Film Awards Magazine

Toronto International Film Festival

The Toronto International Film Festival is closing tomorrow, and even through the fog of the Hollywood striking unions, the announcement of the festival's top prize, which in the past has included both Academy Award winners and films that have received nominations.

"The top prize has become one of the most vital predictors of awards season success. In past years, best picture winners such as Peter Farrelly's "Green Book" (2018) and Chloe Zhao's "Nomadland" (2020) . . . "The Fabelmans" (2022), "Belfast" (2021), "Jojo Rabbit" (2019), "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" (2017) and "La La Land" (2016) are among the movies that went on to receive noms," Variety reported.

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The industry bible has also announced their top ten list of potential TIFF audience winners which have become predictors for the upcoming awards season, and they include "The Holdovers" directed by Alexander Payne, "Origin," directed by Ava DuVernay, "American Fiction," directed by Cord Jefferson, "The Boy and the Heron," directed by Hayao Miyazaki, Rustin, directed by George C. Wolfe, "Wicked Little Letters," directed by Thea Sharrock, "One Life" directed by James Hawes, "His Three Daughters" directed by Azazel Jacobs, "The Burial" directed by Maggie Betts, and "Sing Sing," Directed by Greg Kwedar.

Toronto will announce the Audience Award winner tomorrow, Sunday, September 17, 2023.

Janet Walker, Screenwriter and Haute-Lifestyle.com Publisher, Featured in Wild Filmmaker Magazine

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