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December 18, 2015

Weekly Update from Kelly Graham-Scherer, Los Angeles Representative: December 18, 2015

Happy Friday everyone, 

While the last full work week of 2016 has indeed been a quiet one, a year-end federal tax bill is still generating some excitement for American film and television stakeholders. As reported in the Hollywood Reporter below, the national tax incentive, which expired last January and allowed eligible productions to deduct the first $15 million of the cost against federal tax obligations, has been revived retroactively for all of 2014.

Filmmaker Spike Lee has often generated controversy and his latest project Chi-raq is no exception. As reported in the Chicago Reader this week, Lee's fight to access the Illinois tax credit has been successful, following efforts of Chicago municipal leaders to deny his application based on the film's depictions of gun violence in that city.

Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that Star Wars opened this week amid perhaps the largest promotional and merchandising blitz a film has ever generated. Also this week, the Los Angeles Times published a really interesting article detailing why Disney's $4 billion purchase of Lucasfilm raised eyebrows in 2012, but may turn out to be a bargain after all.

While Star Wars' success may be a sure bet, the performance of other films is becoming increasingly hard to predict. As detailed in the Hollywood Reporter below, social media has changed the way audiences react to theatrical openings and 2015 spawned hits that drastically outperformed expectations, as well as films that suffered the worst wide openings in history, despite expensive marketing. 

When FX CEO John Landgraff declared back in August that "There is simply too much TV," it was the catalyst for a conversation about "Peak TV" and, more ominously, a content bubble. That conversation continued this week in the Hollywood Reporter, which reported that the number of scripted programs on broadcast networks, basic and pay cable networks and OTT services now totals 409.

Finally this week, the recent deal between Netflix and Bell TV in Canada made headlines in Hollywood. As detailed in the Hollywood Reporter below,  the agreement that will see Bell TV offer Netflix on its set-top boxes, underlines Netflix's popularity north of the border. 

You'll find the full text for the linked articles below my signature. Please feel free to distribute this e-mail widely and to get in touch with comments or links for inclusion.

I'll be enjoying Christmas and New Year's Day, respectively, on the next two Fridays, so my next media report will return on Friday, January 8th. I wish you all a joyous holiday season and I look forward working together for a prosperous 2016.

Warmest regards,


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