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February 18, 2014

February 14th News Report from your Los Angeles Representative

TORONTO ONTARIO film office - A partnership of the Ontario Media Development Corporation, City of Toronto and FilmOntario.
WEEKLY UPDATE February 14, 2014
from Kelly Graham-Scherer, Los Angeles Representative - torontoontariofilm@gmail.com

Happy Valentine's Day everyone,

The lobby to increase California tax incentives continues here in Los Angeles. Mayor Eric Garcetti has chosen as new Film Czar Ken Ziffren, following the death of predecessor Tom Sherak last month. As reported in the L.A. Times below, Ziffren "brings deep connections in Hollywood and a skill for consensus building, which will be an important quality if he is to succeed in convincing skeptical lawmakers in Sacramento that the state needs to do more".

The Times this week also continued to publish stories that underscore why Garcetti has pledged to make the retention of production his top priority. As reported below, Southland Lumber & Supply Co., one of L.A.'s leading suppliers of lumber to the entertainment industry, is shutting down next week after nearly seven decades in business — "another casualty of runaway production".

The Premier of British Columbia was in Hollywood this week. As detailed in the Times below, Premier Christy Clark visited the offices of Prime Focus World, the Indian-owned 3-D conversion and visual effects company that recently expanded its Vancouver facility.  She also reportedly told its executives her government was considering expanding the province's support for the post-production and digital animation sector. 

A prominent Hollywood film executive has been charged with committing wire fraud in connection to $1.13 million he received from Louisiana's film and television tax credits program. As detailed in the Hollywood Reporter below, Peter Hoffman is the CEO of Seven Arts Entertainment, which has invested in films including Rules of Engagement, An American Rhapsody, The Believer, and Who is Cletis Tout? The company is also behind the upcoming $60 million budgeted Neuromancer, on which Hoffman is credited as an executive producer. 

Variety had an interesting article this week which looked at how the VFX work was structured on the five Oscar nominees for 2013, noting that they represent radically different ideas about how to get a big VFX picture done. As reported below, some films are throwbacks to the era when a single star VFX company would handle the load, while others follow the current trend and are ensemble efforts, combining shots from many companies.

It's a generally accepted truism that consumer demand drives industry execs to adapt cross-platform innovations, but an interesting article in the Times this week would indicate that it's the other way around when it comes to second screen apps. As reported below, networks, advertisers and tech start-ups have been trying to better engage consumers by putting out apps that let viewers vote during reality shows, participate in polls, play trivia games and comment on the episodes with other viewers, but a recent study by the National Assn. of Television Program Executives indicates viewers just aren't that interested. 

And finally this week, the Los Angeles Times gave front page coverage to the gaming industry with its in-depth article below examining the current trend towards video games with a dose of realism — including everyday moral dilemmas and economic struggles - designed to appeal to a demographic beyond the GameStop crowd.

Please feel free to distribute this e-mail widely and to get in touch with me with comments or links for inclusion.

Warmest regards,

Kelly Graham-Scherer
Los Angeles Representative
Toronto/ Ontario Film Office

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