Film unions celebrate workers at local movie expo

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The Hollywood strike continues to keep New Mexico workers stuck in limbo. While many hold their breath waiting for a deal to be made, there is a move from union members in the state to keep film interest rolling. 

“Making a movie is a little like launching an aircraft, meaning you need everything in place in order to yell ‘Lights, camera, action.’ You know? If one screw is out of place, the whole thing has to stop and wait,” said Rebecca “Puck” Stair, president of Film & TV Expo and of IATSE Local 480.

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Pictures Technicians, Artists, and Allied Crafts is planning something big Sunday. 

“What you see behind me right now is setting up for the second annual Film and TV Expo,” said Puck. 

Puck says this year’s Film and Television Expo is bigger and better than the previous event because it’s getting a little help from some friends.

“This is all volunteer crew and all donations from the community, and we are setting up a custom-built set for you and the public to come visit on this Sunday to see filming up close and personal,” Puck said.

Staging lights and blocking sets is a welcome sight for a number of film workers following a year of uncertainty.

Almost 2,000 IATSE members have gone months without a job. 

“The strikes are impacting workers in New Mexico,” said Stair. “So film work has essentially been shut down since about May or June of this year.”

Puck says while not evey film union is on strike, film workers are in solidarity with Hollywood writers and actors – supporting each other. 

“If any issue is affecting one group of people, say the actors, then it has the potential to affect us all,” she said. “Pretty much any skill you can think of you can imagine whether its ‘white collar’ or ‘blue collar’ is needed to make a movie.”

97 different partners contributed to the expo. Reps says people interested in filmmaking could find their next movie role at Sunday’s celebration.

“These are great middle class jobs. You can earn a living, you can raise a family, you have healthcare and benefits because of what the unions advocate, and you can be an artist at the same time,” said Puck.

Knowing better days are to come.

“Even though things are slow right now in New Mexico and across the country, we fully anticipate that when the strikes are resolved that we’ll be back at work, and actually be drowning in work,” said Puck. 

The event kicks off Sunday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the IATSE Local 480 Training Center. Click here for more information.