Thursday, October 14, 2010

Deadline Set on Hobbit Move Decision

Peter Jackson and the studios have increased the pressure on NZ Equity, MEAA, and SAG, essentially setting a deadline of about two weeks on the amount of time they have to try and get their demands, whatever they are, on the table and come to an agreement. A meeting was held between the Screen Production Development Associated (SPADA), Equity, and Council of Trade Unions (CTU) to try to sort the issue out with New Zealand government represented by Gerry Brownlee.
"It was a useful and productive discussion," said Mr Brownlee, and the parties had agreed "to work together to update the conditions of engagement for performers" in the local film and television industry. "The parties believe this process will help to ensure New Zealand remains an attractive screen production environment," said Mr Brownlee who did not wish to comment further.

A spokesman for Sir Peter this afternoon said The Hobbit situation remained unchanged following today's meeting in Auckland. "Warner Brothers are running financial models about the costs of shooting in a variety of countries. We expect a decision is still a week or two away."
A worldwide actor boycott was declared about three weeks against The Hobbit production, claiming unfair working conditions and contracts even though no filming or actors having actually reported to work yet. The move by the reported 200 member "strong" NZ Equity (out of around 4000 actors in the country) has been backed up by their Australian leaders of the MEAA and given the needed political strength when the Screen Actors Guild backed it up despite the production meeting its contractional obligations to SAG.

The meeting yesterday was the first actual meeting that NZ Equity agreed to as they continue to shun the press and refuse to reveal exactly what they are after and why they feel the boycott was necessary. If some form of agreement isn't reached before Warner Brothers makes a decision to move the production it could cost New Zealand billions in revenue and thousands of jobs including the chance of employment for the other 3800 actors not part of actor unions' actions. The overall bad faith shown by the unions with their deafening silence compared to the huge economic damage it could cause the country is beyond inexcusable.

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