NEWS WIRE - SAG Supports "Brent's Rule"

The Screen Actors Guild's national board of directors unanimously passed a motion vowing to work with other labor unions in the entertainment industry to establish a maximum 12-hour workday.

The motion stated, "SAG, in concurrence with our sister unions, recognizes that there is a growing practice in the television and theatrical film industry of working excessively long hours, and considers this practice to present a very real danger to the health and safety of our members."

The call to shorten the workday was prompted last spring after an assistant cameraman, Brent Hershman, died in an automobile accident while returning home from a 19-hour workday. Following his death, a petition, which has come to be known as "Brent's Rule," began circulating throughout the industry that calls for a sensible limit on workdays.

The motion passed by the SAG board has also been approved by AFTRA's national board and is presently under consideration by the Directors Guild of America.

Scene Change at Equity

The Western regional office of Actors Equity, which as been headquartered on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood since 1970, will move into new offices on Wilshire Blvd. on Dec. 1. The move will unite all three actors' unions--Equity, the Screen Actors Guild, and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists--in the same building: Museum Square, located at 5757 Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles' Hancock Park district.

"We thought it would be advantageous for all three unions to be together so that we could solve issues of common concern," said John Holly, Equity's Western regional director, "and to give our membership what might be called one-stop shopping."

--David Robb (BPI)

SAG Gives Indies

the Lowdown

The Screen Actors Guild has launched a "comprehensive outreach campaign" to introduce independent filmmakers to the guild's low-budget contracts. SAG kicked off its latest campaign last week in New York at the Independent Feature Film Market, where the guild sponsored a panel discussion on the ins and outs of SAG's five low-budget contracts.

As part of the outreach campaign, SAG officials said the guild will be a major sponsor of the American Film Institute Film Festival next month, and that SAG is also considering sponsorship of the Sundance Film Festival, the South by Southwest Film Festival, and the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival.

SAG officials said the guild also expects to send representatives to "several dozen" film festivals and trade shows across the country in the next year as part of its outreach campaign.

"Far too many first-time independent filmmakers still believe working with SAG talent is too expensive and too complicated," said SAG president Richard Masur. "They have no idea that we've developed an entire range of low-budget agreements which take into account their funding and production limitations."

Numerous films shot under SAG's low-budget contracts have received honors at various festivals this year, including Sunday, Love Jones, and In the Company of Men, which all won awards at Sundance.

SAG currently has five different low-budget contracts: the standard low-budget contract; the modified low-budget agreement; the affirmative action low-budget pact; the limited exhibition agreement, and the experimental film contract. Each of these five deals offer different discounts on SAG's basic contract based on the budget, cast, and exhibition plans for low-budget films.

--D. R. (BPI)

Off the Wire

PACIFIC NORTHWEST-- Actress Ming-Na Wen (The Single Guy) is producing Exit the Dragon at the Northwest Asian American Theatre in Seattle, Oct. 1-Nov. 2. A special opening night gala with Wen will be held Oct. 1. The play centers around three struggling actors coming to terms with their identity. (206) 340-1445

Portland Center Stage will inaugurate its 10th anniversary season with Bacchae Revisited, an adaptation of Euripides' The Bacchae by Elizabeth Huddle, Sept. 27-Oct. 25. The season will continue with David Hare's Skylight, Nov. 1-29; A Tuna Christmas, by Jaston William, Joe Sears, and Ed Howard, Dec. 6-Jan. 3; Athol Fugard's Valley Song, Jan. 10-Feb. 7; A.R. Gurney's recent Broadway hit, Sylvia, Feb. 14-Mar. 14, and winding up with Macbeth in March. (503) 274-6588.

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA-- The Film Institute of Northern California will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Mill Valley Film Festival, Oct. 2-12, with a wide selection of foreign and domestic independent films, including 4 Little Girls, Spike Lee's first full-length documentary feature, a children's festival, filmmaking seminars and workshops, and a tribute to Academy Award-winning director Robert E. Wise (West Side Story, The Sound of Music). (415) 383-5256

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA-- The Chesterfield Film Company is accepting applications for the 1998 Writer's Film Project, a year-long screenwriting workshop. Up to five $20,000 fellowships will be awarded. Originated by Amblin Entertainment and the Kennedy/Marshall Company, the WFP was designed to build a bridge between the film industry and skilled fiction, theatre, and film writers interested in pursuing a career in screenwriting. The submission deadline is Nov. 7. (213) 683-3977

The Audrey Skirball-Kenis Fall Reading Series will kick off its season with Hallie Hobson's The Mahogany Millionaire on Sept. 29. The weekly series will continue with Che Walker's Been So Long, Doug Cooney's The Beloved Dearly, Melissa James Gibson's Given Fish, Rick Cleveland's Danny Bouncing, Nick Grosso's Real Classy Affair, and Marlane Meyer's The Chemistry of Change. A.S.K. Theater Projects will hold two playwrighting labs this fall: "Making the Most of Your Staged Reading," Oct. 8, and the Playwrighting Boot Camp, Dec. 2-7. (310) 478-9275

The Actors' Fund of America announced it is launching a five-year, $10 million campaign to underwrite the cost of three supportive housing projects, including the construction of the Palm View in Los Angeles. The building will provide homes to people with HIV/AIDS and is scheduled for completion in 1998. (212) 221-7300, ext. 256

The American Cinematheque and Filmmaker Magazine debut "From Page to Stage," a new series of staged readings of screenplays, at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood. The series will begin Oct. 2 with P. David Ebersoles' Flowers for Albuquerque, which picked up Outfest '97's award for best new screenplay. Scheduled to participate in the reading are: Andy Warhol superstar Joe Dallesandro, Tony Ward, Shirley Knight, Roma Maffia, Amy Hill, and Mary Woronov. (213) 466-3456

The Laugh Factory in West Hollywood will continue a 15-year tradition of free Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services Oct. 2 and Oct. 10-11. Reservations are required. (213) 656-1336

Playwrights' Arena and DelaunÆ’ Michel present "Spoken Interludes," a salon-style evening of dinner, mingling, and enjoying new spoken works every Sunday evening at FIX in Hollywood. The next event will be held Sept. 28 and will include readings of Ken Roht's Afternoon Meal, Christina Beck's Blow Me, and Kelli Kozak's I Have a Picture. (213) 957-4688

Correction: The contact number for the Indecent Exposure Theatre Company, whose 1997-'98 season at the Los Angeles Theatre Center we listed in last week's issue, is in fact (213) 485-1681.