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Tuesday, 22 January, 2002, 10:23 GMT
UK films 'in balance' over dispute
Filming on the new James Bond movie is going ahead
Filming on the new James Bond movie is going ahead
Film-making in the UK is still going ahead as normal despite being eight weeks into an actor's strike, according to a trade magazine.

But there are concerns that the strike could become increasingly damaging to the UK film industry if an agreement is not found soon.

The second Harry Potter film is also being made
The second Harry Potter film is also being made
Actor's union Equity told its 36,000 members to refuse new work in the UK after 1 December because of the row over payment from sales of videos and DVDs and repeat fees.

But Equity has allowed studios making 14 films to sign individual deals with actors to ensure productions do not grind to a halt, Screen Daily says.

They include the second Harry Potter film, the new James Bond movie and English civil war drama Cromwell and Fairfax.

But the situation has been described as "extremely grave" by British Film Commissioner Steve Norris, who predicts a "catastrophic year" in terms of investment coming into the UK.

He says there is an impression in Hollywood that no work can be done while the dispute is still in progress.

From Hell recreated Victorian London in Prague
From Hell recreated Victorian London in Prague
But Equity spokesman Martin Brown said he did not know of any films being cancelled or moved to another country yet.

"We think the UK remains a healthy place to make films - it doesn't cost a single penny more to make films as a result of our action," he told Screen Daily.

On top of the strike, a number of other countries are aggressively marketing themselves to Hollywood as attractive filming locations, taking investment away from the UK.

Such countries include the Czech Republic, where films like A Knight's Tale and Johnny Depp's Jack the Ripper thriller From Hell were filmed because the country offered a less expensive option.

Spending on film-making in the UK fell to 410m last year from a record 750m in 2000, according to new figures.

Ewan McGregor has backed the actor's strike
Ewan McGregor has backed the actor's strike
Equity is trying to reach a deal with the Producers' Alliance for Cinema and Television (Pact) to agree bonus fees paid when films are shown on television or sold on video or DVD.

Unlike their American counterparts, UK actors get nothing extra, above an initial flat fee, when their films are seen on TV or sold to fans.

Julie Walters and Ewan McGregor are among the high-profile names who have pledged support.

In the US, talks are continuing between actors and agents who are re-negotiating rules for those who represent members of their acting union, the Screen Actors Guild members.

The current agreement was due to expire on Sunday, but will remain in place while talks continue.

See also:

23 Oct 01 | Film
US actors back UK strike
18 Sep 01 | Film
UK actors opt for strike
18 Sep 01 | Film
Film industry's strike dread
29 Aug 01 | Film
Hollywood slump hits UK film
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