Over the years, the Portland Local has sponsored many film festivals in our region. As the 2017–2019 Local Board considered which festivals to support in the coming year, a wild and crazy idea was proposed: Go way, way local and support a project that puts SAG-AFTRA members with area producers and directors on truly independent film projects today — and connects them for work tomorrow.
Thus, our partnership was formed for this inaugural sponsorship of Portland’s 48 Hour Film Project.
For nearly two decades, the 48 Hour Film Project has challenged local filmmakers to write, shoot, edit and score a short film over the course of 48 hours. SAG-AFTRA members can appear in these films if the union’s 48HFP waiver is signed by the producer and talent. Knowing the 48HFP is a great way to introduce local producers to using SAG-AFTRA talent and educate them about how easy it is to work with SAG-AFTRA contracts, the Local Board eagerly jumped on board.
“I could not be more excited,” said Portland 48 Hour Film Project Producer Rob Hatch, “It’s like a dream come true. When [Portland Local Board Member Mary McDonald-Lewis] and I spoke a couple months ago, I thought, ‘I can’t believe we’d get this opportunity to work with [SAG-AFTRA] and they’d want to work with us.' I think it’s been great for the filmmaking community and … the artistic community here in the area.”
SAG-AFTRA members were encouraged to audition for 48HFP producers at the event’s general auditions, and Local Board members were on hand at events to answer questions and help competitors fill out SAG-AFTRA waivers for their films. After the shorts were shot and turned in to project organizers, they reported that nearly 30% of the producers had used SAG-AFTRA talent in their films — and 50% of the films being showed at the project’s “Best of” screening used SAG-AFTRA talent.
“The 48 Hour Film Project is the perfect opportunity to show local filmmakers how easy it is to use our contracts and work with our members,” said Portland Local President Michelle Damis. “It’s collaborative, creative and creates strong relationships in our market. It’s a great match!”
What is the Board’s goal for Portland’s 2020 48 Hour Film Project? To sign up 50% of projects to the 48HFP waiver. Portland union members can help by coming out to audition in droves next year, and show filmmakers that #WinnersUseUnionTalent!
The Portland Local’s partnership with the 48HFP proved highly successful and members of the Local Board and other members were able to view the results at the project’s “Best of the Best” screening at the Hollywood Theater on Sept. 19, with the Portland Local hosting the after-party at the Moon & Sixpence Pub.
Photo: Portland Local Vice President Harold Phillips and President Michelle Damis at the 2019 Portland 48 Hour Film Project kick-off event at the Jupiter Hotel on Aug. 2. Photo by Rob Hatch.
- Local News