Short film producers to get info on low-budget contracts

SHORT FILM PRODUCERS are invited to attend a special AFTRA/SAG Breakfast Workshop “Demystifying SAG Low Budget Contracts,” dealing with how you can afford to hire professional union actors for your projects, on Wednesday, Oct. 12. 

Leading the workshop is the person with all the answers — AFTRA/SAG’s Kathy Byrne, director of TV/Theatrical Contracts. Her special guests are filmmaker Natasha Parker, AFTRA/SAG actor Christopher Meister and Jason Teresi, Breakdown Services, who will help demystify the agreement from their perspectives.  

“There’s a contract for every budget and platform of short films, including student shorts, shorts for film festivals and even a new media agreement for webisodes on the internet and we’ll show you how to use them,” Byrne says.

“I want to get to the point in Chicago and the Midwest where we never hear on a film set ‘I didn’t use SAG because it was too expensive,’ or ‘I didn’t use SAG because there was too much paperwork.’  Both are not true.” 

“Most of the low budget agreements allow for mixed casts (union and non-union), so they are a nice way for up-and-ccoming filmmakers to get their feet wet in the professional world.”

The free seminar takes place at the unions’ Kaufherr Members Resource Center, 1 E. Erie, from 8:30-10:30 a.m.   Space is limited to about 30 attendees.  RSVP by Friday, Oct. 7 to

DAVID McGOWAN’S RAVENSWOOD MEDIA, specialists in nature, wildlife and natural history videos, is partnering with the Field Museum and Bat Conservation International on a “Battle for Bats” day on Oct. 15, at the Field Museum from 1 to 5 p.m.

The symposium presents five experts on the subject of the White Nose Syndrome crisis that’s currently raging in the East and surging into the Midwest.  Speakers will talk about the benefits of bats and what’s being done to avoid the catastrophe of losing more than a million bats a year to this disease.

Part of the symposium will be the screening of Ravenswood Media’s nine-minute documentary about White Nose Syndrome, The Battle for Bats, shot on location in West Virginia and Indiana bat caves and featuring experts from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services and Wildlife Heath Center, the U.S. Forest Service and conservancy organizations working to slow the fungus and the disease.

McGowan was director/cameraman; Suzie Crobie and Takuya Uemoto, assistant camera; Mike Brockway, editor, Ethan Barnowsky, assistant editor; art work by Susan Kwasniak and Zach Wilson. 

FILMMAKER JACKIE COMFORTY will be touring the East Coast and the Midwest screening his documentary “The Optimists: The Bulgarian Jews and Their Survival from the Holocaust.” 

During November 2011, I will tour the East Coast and the Midwest with my documentary “The Optimists: the Bulgarian Jews and their survival from the Holocaust“.

“Screenings will follow with Q. and A. and insight about the art and challenges of making historical and ethnographical documentaries that are based on vast archives,” says Comforty.

“This is the story of a Jewish community in Bulgaria, whose unique history led to their rescue during the Holocaust. The movie connects between the personal and the global and is universal in its ability to inspire all audiences.”
During the tour, Comforty will screen previews of “Jazz and Zionism,” part of his documentary trilogy about Bulgarian Jewry that expects to complete next year.

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