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Lights, camera, action as filming fears allayed


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Lights, camera, action as filming fears allayed Lights, camera, action as filming fears allayed

Concerns that a Hollywood film being shot in Galway in recent days was breaking the ongoing actors’ strike have been put to rest.

A number of local trade unionists had called into question continuing work on filming for The Watchers, which stars Dakota Fanning.

However, the Galway City Tribune understands that on foot of queries from members of the Galway Trades Council, it has been confirmed that the production has been granted a waiver from the striking unions in the US.

Hollywood has been on strike since July when the Screen Actor’s Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) joined the Writers Guild of America (WGA), the members of which have been on the picket line since May.

The strike kicked off following the breakdown of negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers – the dispute centres on pay and the use of artificial intelligence (AI).

While the spotlight has been on the strike’s effects in the US, local attention was drawn to the dispute when news broke that filming for The Watchers was to take place on the University of Galway campus.

As revealed by the City Tribune in July, filming is also taking place this week in the Quay Street area.

The Tribune understands that a number of trade union members at UG were concerned that the filming would break the international picket which applies to American production companies operating worldwide.

Members had considered ‘appropriate’ action to stop the filming if a breach was found and were considering enlisting the support of the Students’ Union if necessary.

However, after seeking advice from their American comrades, their fears were allayed – and SAG-AFTRA was grateful for their solidarity.

Filming for The Watchers has been underway in Wicklow for some time but crews decamped to Galway this week – the hometown of A. M. Shine, the author of the novel upon which the film is based.

The screenplay has been written by Ishana Night Shyamalan, daughter of renowned American filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan of The Sixth Sense and Split fame.

The film tells the story of Mina, who will be played by Fanning, a 28-year-old artist who gets stranded in an “expansive, untouched forest” in Galway, becoming trapped alongside three strangers who are “watched and stalked by mysterious creatures each night”. It is due for release in 2024.

Pictured: The film stars Dakota Fanning.

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