New York Production Vets Expect IATSE Strike Threat To Hamper Film And TV Shoots Before 2025 Rebound

New York Production Vets Expect IATSE Strike Threat To Hamper Film And TV Shoots Before 2025 Rebound

Four New York film production veterans, spanning the perspectives of unions, vendors and city government, agreed that the looming IATSE strike threat will restrict shoots this year before a rebound in 2025.

Tommy O’Donnell, President of Theatrical Teamsters Local 817, which represents workers in transportation, casting, and locations for film, TV and Broadway, sees signs of production “slowing down,” but doesn’t think “there will be any more strikes” in the near term. He said the expiration of the IATSE deal at the end of June and the Hollywood Teamsters contract a month later will prompt a pullback. Nevertheless, “I think it will settle down, and 2025 will be a big year,” he added.

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“The contraction of the industry is going to be temporary,” agreed Kwame Amoaku, Deputy Commissioner of the Film Office at the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. Amoaku, who is a filmmaker in addition to his government role, also pointed to positives takeaways from the grueling WGA and SAG/AFTRA strikes. “The labor issues have changed the dynamic between production and labor and I think it’s put unions in a better position going forward,” he said.

The comments came during a panel at the start of a half-day conference Friday presented by MediaMKRS, a workforce development program led by Reel Works, a film-oriented mentorship organization founded in 2001 to help underserved New York City youth.

David Haddad, CEO of film production equipment vendor Haddads, Inc., agreed with other panelists about the coming slowdown, but he was less upbeat about the idea of a big recovery. He said a key litmus test for production will come in April, May and June of 2025, when episodic shoots are traditionally wrapping.

“There hasn’t been pilot season for three years. I don’t think one person knows what’s going to happen,” he said. “There are a lot of sort of margarita nights wondering.

After Covid and then the dual strikes of 2023, this year’s slowdown will be “the third time we’re going to have a pause,” Haddad said. “You’re going to look at your expenses. You’re going to look at what you want to cut, what you think’s going to happen in the future. But let’s be fair to the studios, they have the same problem. ‘What do I spend money on? Who’s going to watch it?'”

Liz Pecos, an international representative at IATSE, was scheduled to sit on the panel but did not appear. Paramount Global sponsored the event and hosted it at its Times Square headquarters. John Gibson, VP, External and Multicultural Affairs for the Motion Picture Association, served as moderator.

Panelists at the MediaMKRS Summit Wendell Sisnett