Arizona-Utah Local Vice President, Utah, Billy Holden; casting director Emily Ann Roth; and member Dale McKeel.

On Jan. 19, SAG-AFTRA honored its own at the SAG Awards for the 26th consecutive year. Personally, I've grown to appreciate the streamlined version of the awards show over the other more traditional shows, as it is actors recognizing the work of other actors and colleagues. It is also much more entertaining knowing that I had the opportunity to participate in the nominating and voting on the awards — something all members have the opportunity to do.

Utah members and guests participated in the event by attending a viewing party at Brewvies Cinema Pub in Salt Lake City. SAG-AFTRA members attended similar parties in various locations around the country, where the awards proceedings were broadcast and viewed locally. Arizona-Utah Local Vice President Billy Holden organized, hosted and emceed the evening, which included raffling gift bags containing SAG-AFTRA swag during the commercial breaks. 

“What a wonderful turnout, with the red carpet and new step-and-repeat banner for photo ops for all our guests,” Holden said. “Big thanks to members Dale McKeel and Rainer Rohde for their help and to our photographer, Emily Ann Roth.”

In an effort to generate goodwill and recognition for the SAG-AFTRA Arizona-Utah Local, it was decided to open the party to non-members and prospective members who are involved in the film industry. The guest attendees I spoke with expressed positive impressions of the evening. A prospective member said, "I've watched the SAG Awards many times before. It was a whole new experience to watch it in the company of fellow actors." And Halem Medina, a new SAG-AFTRA member, said, “I had fun. I was impressed with how VP Billy Holden ran the show and made me feel welcome and part of the group.” Some attendees suggested holding next year’s party at a venue open to members of all ages. 

The Utah viewing parties in past years have been hampered due to the fact that the SAG Awards have hit right in the middle of the Sundance Film Festival, and we were unable to compete with the festival for appropriate and reasonable meeting space. That was not the case this year. Let's hope for similar luck in the future.  

We appreciate and welcome any comments and suggestions on how we can make this event better. Your ideas can be sent to or shared with a Local Board member.

— By Rainer Rohde, Arizona-Utah Local Board for the Arizona-Utah newsletter.

Photo: Arizona-Utah Local Vice President, Utah, Billy Holden; casting director Emily Ann Roth; and member Dale McKeel. Photo by Michelle Christensen


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