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SAG signs indie film pact

LOS ANGELES - The Screen Actors Guild has cut a deal that would let its members work for an independent film company regardless of a future strike against the major studios, Daily Variety reported April 17.

SAG announced a deal late Wednesday with The Film Department that guarantees completion of nine movies that haven't started filming, according to Variety.

One of them, a romantic comedy titled "The Rebound" and starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, is scheduled to begin production next week in New York City.

Such "guaranteed completion contracts" would be available only to independent feature producers.

SAG spokeswoman Pamela Greenwalt declined to discuss the matter Thursday.

"We're in negotiations. We're focused on that. We have no further comment," she said.

On Tuesday, SAG began contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, but both sides have said little about the talks.

Those negotiations run through April 26. The producers then start talks with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists on April 28.

The Writers Guild of America signed several interim deals during its three-month strike against the major studios earlier this year.

It is unclear whether SAG's interim deal will exert any real pressure against the studios. Variety said AMPTP members have been holding off starting projects until after a new deal is set with the guild.

SAG's contract with the studios expires June 30.

Top SAG officials have indicated they're intent on negotiating a contract that betters the deals reached by the writers and directors guilds.

Those unions won key victories, including jurisdiction over programs produced for distribution online, and new and better compensation for shows and movies streamed or downloaded online.

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