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NABET 700-M UNIFOR represents over 3000 Film, Television and New Media Technicians in the province of Ontario.

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February 27, 2017

February 24th News Report from your Los Angeles Representative

Happy Friday everyone,

The Mayor of Los Angeles, who lobbied hard to institute California's film and television tax credits in 2014, is now throwing his weight behind expanding the current program, which is due to expire in 2020. As reported in Variety below, Eric Garcetti spoke against a program cap and said "the sky's the limit" in arguing the current incentives do not go far enough in subsidizing post-production.

The Province of Alberta is another jurisdiction which is looking at incentives to boost its production industry. As detailed in the Calgary Herald below, at issue is a funding cap on the Alberta Media Fund’s production grant, which can contribute up to 30 per cent of all eligible Alberta expenses, but is capped at $5-million per project. Alberta-based screen industry stakeholders argue changes are needed ASAP to capitalize on potential overflow business from Ontario and British Columbia.

Anyone who's been in the industry for a decade or more remembers the devastating impact of the 2007 writer's strike, which lasted 100 days. As reported in the Los Angeles Times this week, the spectre of that time hangs over the WGA's upcoming contract negotiations, which will begin next month and come at a time when unions seek a bigger share of burgeoning streaming revenues and film and TV studios grapple with changing consumer behavior that has undermined traditional business models.

Hollywood was buzzing this week with news that longtime Paramount Pictures CEO Brad Grey would officially step down. As detailed in the Hollywood Reporter below, Grey's departure comes after one of the worst years in the studio's history, with losses of nearly $450 million, and amid sweeping changes at parent company Viacom, which is said to want to exert greater control over greenlighting

Regulations instituted in China at the beginning of this year, restricting money leaving the country, have sent a chill through Hollywood. As explained in the LA Times below, a curtailment of foreign investment could have far-reaching consequences in Hollywood, where major studios have become increasingly reliant on financing from China, which is now the world’s second-largest film market.

Finally this week, it's Oscar time in LA and that means road closures in Hollywood and non-stop media coverage in local trades. Diversity continues to be a hot button issue and the Times below examines the gender gap and notes that if, as expected, La La Land wins the Oscar on Sunday, it would be the first best-picture winner since Million Dollar Baby to feature a woman nominated for lead actress.

Best of luck to all the Ontario people who have been nominated for Academy and Independent Spirit Awards this weekend. I had the honor of speaking with several of them at a Canadian Consulate luncheon in Los Angeles yesterday and it was an inspiring reminder of just how much talent and drive lives and works in our jurisdiction.

Warmest regards,

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

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