In The News
MFA invites you to brave the winter chill, assemble your film team, and rise to the challenge for a chance to win cash prizes!
The 2022 MFA Winter Film Challenge is the Maine Film Association’s first-ever weekend-long filmmaking celebration, providing a platform for Maine filmmakers to challenge themselves creatively and showcase their skills and talent. Teams of filmmakers from across the state will have 72 hours to write, shoot, and edit a short film. All events associated with the competition will accommodate in-person (as COVID allows) and virtual attendees through a hybrid format. We hope this will enable interested creatives from Fort Kent to Kittery to participate and make a film in their hometowns.
“Producers have come through the first three COVID waves and know what to do to keep things moving,” one veteran producer notes, pointing to safety protocols implemented at the start of the pandemic that, for the most part, have allowed studios and independents to keep making movies even through this fall’s surge of infections caused by the Delta variant.
“Rapid testing is widely available, so production facilities can test everyone every day, making transmission pretty unlikely. I really don’t see a big impact over the near term,” notes Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter. “But if it turns out that Omicron is more deadly than thought and we are more defenseless, it will become a problem.”
Thanksgiving has taken on a poignant edge these past few years. A holiday that’s all about togetherness has found us trying to pretend that family group Zoom calls are as good as the real thing. A holiday that’s about being thankful for what you’ve got has, for so many of us, become a wrenching annual reminder of what we’ve lost, and what we’re still missing after nearly two full years of a devastating pandemic.
Well, Thanksgiving is still coming, and, dammit, we here at the Indie Film desk are bound and determined to not let the still-lingering disruption of a worldwide pandemic rob us of our annual tradition of publicly appreciating those hardy (but not foolhardy) Maine film folks who’ve weathered this unprecedented storm with ingenuity, courage and even a little grace in the face of a deadly and dangerous pandemic.
Unionized film production workers have narrowly agreed to new contracts, removing the threat of a strike that could have brought production to a halt nationwide.
The deals cover technicians, artisans and craftspeople who perform a wide variety of non-acting and non-directing jobs for feature films, television shows and streaming programs. Had the 63,000 union members covered by the contracts gone on strike, it would have been the largest private-sector work stoppage since 2007.
The pair of contracts fulfilled many of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees’ (IATSE) negotiating demands — but there was enough opposition that the deals were nearly rejected. The narrow vote is another indication of the current discontent among many workers, both organized and non-union, over the state of their jobs.
As studios debate how to handle COVID-19 vaccine resistance, the Biden administration is moving forward with its own mandates that are pushing Hollywood to toe the line. Though a federal court recently halted vaccine and testing requirements for private businesses with 100 or more employees pending review, the White House said Nov. 8 that the private sector “should not wait.”
We’re really only considering those who are vaccinated,” one prolific producer tells The Hollywood Reporter about COVID requirements for features they’re working on. Another producer, gearing up for a big studio production, concurs: “We will not engage with anyone who is not vaccinated.” But enforcement will be key as studios ensure that workers, from talent to crew, show proof.