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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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April 13, 2017

April 13th News Report from your Los Angeles Representative

Happy Thursday everyone,

This week may be a short one, but there is no shortage of engaging media coverage which will interest Ontario stakeholders.

The big news at home was the record-setting production numbers released Monday by the Ontario Media Development Corporation. Ontario Tourism, Culture and Sports Minister Eleanor McMahon assured stakeholders that "tax incentives aren't going anywhere" as she announced that province-wide production volume hit a record $1.69 billion last year, up from $1.5 billion in 2015.

Ontario's good news was covered in the Hollywood Reporter this week in a story that noted that capacity continues to be a challenge as the boom shows no sign of slowing.

A potential strike by the Writers' Guild of America continues to be a major worry here in LA and across the globe. Less than two days ago, Variety published an up-to-date look at how talks between the union and the studios were progressing and, as detailed below, there appears to be some optimism that both sides are inching closer to compromise on the key issues of options and exclusivity terms for TV writers.

Although there is no question a writers' strike would have a devastating effect on the production service industry in Ontario, media reported this week that Canadian content creators may stand to benefit from it. As detailed in the Hollywood Reporter below, series Canadian writers work on back in Canada under a Writers Guild of Canada contract are considered strike-proof as they are not covered by the WGA contract and a strike could increase the drive to pitch original Canadian scripted shows on studio lots in Los Angeles.

Some of the hottest Canadian content creators on the scene were part of the group of 10 Canadians to Watch that Variety announced this week. The group was honored at a reception at the Canadian Consular Residence in Los Angeles on Tuesday night and Variety's latest issue also featured a comprehensive look at film making across Canada. Here's a link to that issue ​- you'll find the Canada coverage starting on page 50

The issue featured a glowing Ontario-centric story. Linked below, it describes our jurisdiction's entertainment industry as being "in the midst of a golden age".

In LA-focused news this week, permitting and film advocacy group FilmLA released first quarter 2017 production numbers that showed a sharp decline in feature production in Los Angeles County. As detailed in Deadline below, although levels fell to those not seen since 2012, FilmLA President Paul Audley cautioned against despair, noting, “Last year local Feature production hit a seven-year high — so trendspotting in this segment requires a deeper dive.”

The FilmLA numbers may have been a disappointment, but a proclamation from Netlifx this week had Los Angeles stakeholders cheering. In an announcement that could have implications for foreign production service centers like Ontario, Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos says he will concentrate Netflix's $6 billion production budget on California. As detailed in The Wrap below, Sarandos said that he intends to bring as much production as possible to California, having concluded that chasing tax incentives in other states produces diminishing returns on screen.

Finally this week, despite what Netflix does, production is likely to thrive in New York State which has approved a budget that includes a three-year extension of the Film Production Tax Credit program. As detailed in Variety below, the new extension brings the expiration date up to 2022, reupping with $420 million per year to sustain a program that includes fully refundable tax credits of 30% on productions and post-production costs incurred in New York state, plus an additional 10% credit on projects with budgets of more than $500,000.

Warmest regards,

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

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