External Education and Engagement Activity Overview

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External Education and Engagement Activity Overview

Member leaders and staff in the Washington-Mid Atlantic Local have been out and about representing your union at industry, labor, educational and community events. Here’s a snapshot of recent highlights. 

Around North Carolina 

Business Representative Ryan Hastings traveled to the Charlotte Film Festival in September and gave presentations at Davidson University and Piedmont Central Community College, hosted a member meet-and-greet and met with several area agents.

At the request of SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director David White, on Nov. 9, Hastings visited Bennett College, a historically black liberal arts college for women in Greensboro, North Carolina, to participate in the Entertainment Industry College Outreach Program. EICOP’s mission is to partner with organizations dedicated to educating, developing and recruiting the best and brightest diverse student leaders for careers in the entertainment and broadcast industry. SAG-AFTRA’s participation in the EICOP provides access and opportunities for students who have been traditionally underrepresented, while meeting the industry’s diversity goals to be reflective of the communities it serves. During his visit, Hastings spoke with the professors, deans and department chairs; attended a discussion on navigating a career in the industry; spoke on an panel about the entertainment industry; and had the opportunity to speak one on one with students pursuing careers in the media industry. 

From there, Hastings drove to Wilmington for the Cucalorus Film Festival. He hosted a private meet-and-greet on Nov. 10 for local SAG-AFTRA members. He also took some time away from the festival to speak with graduating students at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington about SAG-AFTRA and the entertainment industry.

VPA State of the Industry Events – Richmond and Virginia Beach

Associate Executive Director Jane Love attended a state-of-the-industry event in Richmond on Feb. 9 and Hastings attended the same event in Virginia Beach on Feb. 16. SAG-AFTRA had a table at both events and handed out informational materials to prospective members and producers as well as some swag. Each event was attended by more than 200 industry professionals, including a good number of members and individuals interested in discussing the benefits of membership. 

Workshop on Organizing Professional Millennials

On March 16, WMA Local members and staff attended a series of panel discussions titled Professional Millennials: The Future of Work and Unions, hosted by the AFL-CIO’s Department of Professional Employees. Participants heard from labor leaders from multiple industries and unions. The panel discussed organizing successes and failures and how each might work with millennials. Other topics included why unions should care about millennials, how younger workers view work and unions, and building millennial membership. 

SWAN Day

SWAN Day 
Zookeeper’s Wife screening

As part of an initiative spearheaded by the National Women’s Committee, a good number of locals partnered with other organizations to celebrate Support Women Artists Now (SWAN) Day on March 25 as part of Women’s History Month. Thanks to the following members for participating: Preslaysa Williams, Wendy Carter, Jim Zider, Rebecca Turner, Celia de la Vega, Caren Anton, Cornelia Hart, Kim Tuvin, Sasha Carrera and Sheila Blanc. 

We partnered with Women in Film and Video by encouraging members to participate in table reads of selected short scripts written by female artists. The event was held at the female-owned architectural firm of Hickok Cole in Georgetown.

We were also very excited to be partnering with WIFV to bring a special screening of The Zookeeper’s Wife starring Jessica Chastain to Washington as part of the Women’s History Month and SWAN Day festivities. We were especially pleased that the film’s director, Niki Caro, and producer Kim Zubick were on hand to answer questions from the audience after the March 23 screening at the E Street Cinema. A second screening was added at Mazza Gallerie the following week.  

SWAN Day
SWAN Day actors 

George Mason University

Business Representative Speaker spoke to more than 70 students at George Mason University over two days in late April. His presentation covered our Low Budget Theatrical and New Media contracts, as well as the benefits to media-makers of working with SAG-AFTRA professionals.

Virginia Film Office’s Workforce Development Symposium

The Virginia Film Office put on a weekend-long symposium on film finance, distribution and marketing in Richmond at WCVE Public Broadcasting on May 6 and 7. SAG-AFTRA offered a small sponsorship and, as such, members were offered a substantial discount to attend. We had quite a number of members attend and speakers included entertainment attorneys, distribution experts, filmmakers and more.