If you follow the LA theatre scene, you are likely familiar with the ongoing controversy regarding Actors’ Equity’s proposal to change the 99-Seat Theater Plan. Originally ratified in 1987, the agreement allowed union actors to work for small stipends less than union minimum wage in theaters with under 99 seats, which LA has nearly 200 of, allowing a great deal of artistic freedom and enabling smaller theater companies to work with top talent and thrive. In 2015, Actors’ Equity informed its members of plans to dissolve the agreement. Worried such changes would cripple smaller theatre companies and damage LA’s reputation as a fertile ground for new works, actors fought back. Despite an overwhelming vote to reject the change, the Actors’ Equity governing board proceeded with their plan. A group of actors filed a lawsuit, prolonging the enactment of the new arrangement until the end of the negotiations. Unfortunately, the negotiations broke down, and the new rules are set to take effect on December 15, 2016. Starting then, Los Angeles theaters of all sizes will be required to pay union actors at least minimum wage.
Enter Love 99, a feature-length documentary directed by Veronica Brady and produced by Planet Grande in collaboration with Hybrid Collective that follows nine actors (Richard Azurdia, Deborah Craig, Frances Fisher, Amir Levi, Katie Lowes, Rebecca Mozo, Graham Sibley, Michael Sheppard, and Daniel Stewart) working in small theaters in LA as they continue to follow their passion amidst all of the legal uncertainty. Narrated by Helen Mirren, the film is on track for a December 2016 release pending the success of their Kickstarter campaign to raise the final funds needed to ensure its completion.
With two weeks left, the project has already raised half of its $25,000 goal. To support this important project, which is truly a love letter to intimate theatre in LA, check out the Kickstarter. For more information about the project, please visit www.love99film.com.