GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Every October, dozens of films and filmmakers come to the city of Glens Falls – but this year, don’t expect to see them. Last month, the Adirondack Film Festival announced that its 2023 event would be postponed indefinitely, in acknowledgment of strikes by two of the film industry’s premier unions – the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) and the Screen Actors Guild of America (SAG-AFTRA).
As of last week, one of those two was able to reach a deal, with the WGA securing protections against the encroachment of artificial intelligence usage on their jobs, as well as improved transparency from video streaming services on how their metrics are evaluated. It’s great news for the union, but changes nothing for Glens Falls’ local festival.
“Adirondack Theatre Festival stands with union writers, actors, and all professional artists who seek fair wages and respect for the uniquely human work of art-making,” said festival Artistic Director Miriam Weisfeld. “The Adirondack Film Festival is the nation’s only film festival produced by a professional theatre company. As such, we feel doubly responsible to advocate for those who write and perform new work for a living.”
On Friday, the festival told NEWS10 that the festival would share further updates when available, pointing to the fact that the SAG-AFTRA strike remains ongoing. On In a Monday morning post on social media, the union said that representatives were headed back into negotiations with major Hollywood film and TV studios, as union members continued to hold the picket line. The negotiations represent the first for SAG-AFTRA in the last two months of a strike that has been ongoing since May.
Over 150,000 actors working in Hollywood have been involved in the SAG-AFTRA strike. Glens Falls’ film festival isn’t the only Capital Region outlet of film activity to be impacted by the halt of work. The Albany County Film Commission sent some of its own members to the front lines over the summer – one year after what the commission told NEWS10 was the region’s best year yet for involvement in film and TV.
The Adirondack Film Festival welcomes around 70 films or more to the city in a given year – but this year, even if the festival were to be held, that number would dwindle. Involvement in either strike would keep the majority of working WGA and SAG-AFTRA actors and screenwriters from coming to festivals or promoting their work at all.
The stakes are high for those working in film, with strikers now four months into calling for fair wages, artist’s rights, and honesty from streaming services. In Glens Falls, the Adirondack Film Festival brings thousands of visitors to visit downtown, stay in local hotels, and enjoy more of what the North Country has to offer. A lot hangs in the balance for the city – and for another event connected to the film fest.
“We appreciate the ongoing strategic discussions with regional arts and tourism leaders to plan future opportunities,” said Adirondack Theatre Festival Managing Director Tracey Sullivan. “In addition to the film festival’s contribution to the vitality of our region, the event is a key fundraiser for the Adirondack Theatre Festival. We are immensely grateful to the Queensbury Hotel, Downtown Social, The Glen at Hiland Meadows, Hudson Headwaters Health Network, and our other sponsors and partner organizations for their support during this complicated moment in the entertainment industry.”
The Adirondack Theatre Festival brings a trio of stage shows to Charles R. Wood Theater every summer, with 2024 set to mark year 30. Donations in support of next summer’s festival can be made through the festival website. A new date for the Adirondack Film Festival has yet to be announced.