As IMAGINE goes to post another great issue for you, the WGA strike is in its tenth week. Most all productions have shut down and there is picketing across the country except for today in New York as demonstrations were cancelled due to the oppressive heat.
Since 1982, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) has been the trade association responsible for negotiating virtually all industry-wide guild and union contracts, including those with American Federation of Musicians (AFM); Directors Guild of America (DGA); International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE); International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW); Laborers Local 724; Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA); Teamsters, Local #399; and Writers Guild of America (WGA) among others.
The AMPTP, the entertainment industry’s official collective bargaining representative, negotiates fifty-eight industry-wide collective bargaining agreements on behalf of hundreds of motion picture and television producers. That’s a big number of producers to satisfy. No wonder it is so complex and difficult.
I know everyone just wants to get back to work, but that likelihood is mired by impending strikes and the stand-off between the WGA and AMPTP. Even if other Guilds and the AMPTP resolve their contract woes, those who choose to not cross picket lines (and most productions do) will not be able to go back to work until the WGA saga comes to an acceptable conclusion.
Also, upon this posting SAG-AFTRA and AMPTP have not achieved any substantial negotiations toward a contract resolution. Frankly, at this point it doesn’t look too promising, although we remain hopeful.
Most believe it’s going to be a long hot summer.
But here in New England we can stay happy as clams as we say, “Hooray for Film Festivals.” We have two stories for you in this issue. From Saturday, July 29 through Saturday, August 5, join the Woods Hole Film Festival as they celebrate their 32nd year in the charming and relaxing seaside village of Woods Hole on Cape Cod. As the oldest festival on the Cape and Islands, the festival has been one of the leaders in promoting the work of emerging independent filmmakers from around the world.
Judy Laster is the founder and Executive Director of the Woods Hole Film Festival. She is to be celebrated for her dedication to her festival and the industry in New England.
Now in its 27th year, the Rhode Island International Film Festival (RIIFF) celebrates the independent spirit in film and has become a haven for independent filmmakers from throughout the world. In 2022, the Festival presented 383 films representing works that were shot and produced in 106 countries. There were 92 World Premieres and US/North American Premieres. Moving the Festival back to a post-COVID normal was the goal of the 2022 event.
This year, RIIFF has received more than 6,000 submissions from all over the world. In this issue our aim is to introduce you to Shawn Quirk as he is stepping into the big shoes of George Marshall to bring you their festival 2023. George passed away last September after an amazing 2022 festival. Shawn has worked with George since 2011. Read my article about him in this issue. You will get the picture.
For all festivals, I want to make this remark, perhaps it is a plea: volunteer, every festival need volunteers. If you are in the vicinity or can get there for a few days, volunteer! The rewards you will earn are endless, the savvy people you will meet, the movies you will get to see that perhaps otherwise you wouldn’t, panels and workshops, and the satisfaction that you supported a film community and contributed value to an important event.
I love this issue. Our cover story is one I adore. I met Michael Malvesti at an industry (SAG-AFTRA/MPC) event early this year. This story will grab your heart and soul. I wrote the story (actually, her wrote the story for me), and then reached out to one of my favorite local actors, Erica McDermott (THE FIGHTER, AMERICAN HUSTLE, Julia) to get her take on the guy, Michael Malvesti.
Erica is an IMAGINE “Imaginnaire”. Here is her response. I was catching up with her as well.
Here’s what her update, “I’ve been spending the winter months in South Florida and traveling a bit. With self-taping auditions being the norm these days, I’m taking full advantage. In fact, I auditioned for JULIA in a hotel room in Scottsdale Arizona!!!
“What an excellent experience I had, so many positive things to say I don’t even know where to begin. Director Erica Dunton was simply marvelous!! The Hair & Makeup department, along with Costume took everyone back to Cambridge, Massachusetts in the 1960s. It was incredible! My hair, alone, could be its own character. On my drive home after filming, I prayed I wouldn’t get pulled over for any reason … a police officer wouldn’t know what to make of me and my hairdo!!
“I play the role of SHIRLEY BAMBACH. She is part of a group of ladies the world isn’t quite ready for, Shirley is definitely ahead of her time!! After reading the character breakdown, I decided to take a risk and audition using a very diffident accent. They loved it and cast me shortly thereafter. My Boston accent has booked me roles in the past, so being hired by HBO MAX using a new one was very cool.
“Michael Malvesti is an actor I’ve known for a long time. He’s a great guy, very talented and continues to lead by example in our industry. I’ve enjoyed watching movies and shows he’s worked on. Every time he brings true authenticity to the scene. I haven’t worked with him yet, but with so many New England connections it’s only a matter of time and I look forward to that day!”
I brought in Erica and her comments because I knew that she would support my instincts and that Michael, our cover story, was the genuine person I thought he was – I believed I was right; Erica confirmed it!
Our region does extremely well in international competitions. And ASCAP is no exception.
Ed Grenga, Charles “Kook” Lawry, and Douglas Stevens are recipients of the 2023 ASCAP Screen Music Award for the top-rated television series, This Old House on PBS. Ed and Doug traveled to West Hollywood in May to the Sunset Marquis for an intimate, invitation-only celebration with fellow ASCAP Screen Music Award winners. They say, “Special thanks to Director, David Vos, for initially believing in us, and Editors, Mike Svirsky, Gary Stephenson, and Adam Bush for their expert guidance along the way. We’d also like to thank all the viewers who enjoyed our music over the years and wrote to us and supported us with their kind words.”
Doug sent this to IMAGINE, “Here is the first sentence from ASCAP letter sent to me about a month ago. We were told to keep it a secret until it was publicly announced.”
“We are excited to inform you that you are a 2023 ASCAP Screen Music Awards winner! Your score for This Old House was among the highest-rated ASCAP scores of 2022.”
Congratulations are due! Good composing Ed, Kook, and Doug. Their company is Creative Audio and Music. Their tagline is: Where Good Ideas Go to Be Heard. I like that.
I was so honored to be invited to the wedding of Mikhaila Waldman and Tim Larson extended to me by Jan and Dr. Howard Waldman at the exquisite Corinthian Yacht Club in Marblehead. It was a beautiful affair, planned, orchestrated, and presented so well it should have been in a movie.
Last month our cover story was about Christy Cashman and her novel “The Truth About Horses,” which will be released in August. This is a wonderful story that I couldn’t get enough of. I wanted to read it fast so that I could see how it ended. I also never wanted the story to end. You can preorder “The Truth About Horses” now online at Amazon or your favorite book provider. The release date is August 15th, and we plan to have a signing party when we can all get together.
Be sure to get to a film festival this summer. Our next issue will have additional options for you to choose from. Enjoy the rest of summer and stay safe.