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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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June 13, 2017

June 9th News Report from your Los Angeles Representative

Happy Friday everyone,

I've lived in Los Angeles and closely monitored its local production industry for seven and a half years and this week was the first time I have ever heard industry stakeholders bemoan a lack of studio space in the jurisdiction. As reported in the Los Angeles Times below, the golden age of television has brought production roaring back to LA and as streaming companies and cable channels shoot year-round, local facilities are having trouble keeping up with the bounty of TV production, with occupancy levels at some studios reaching new highs.

All is quiet with regards to the current, ongoing negotiation between the studios and performers union SAG-AFTRA, but nine video game companies the union has been on strike against since last October this week invited the union to return to the bargaining table. As detailed in Deadline below, the walkout is now in its 231st day – by far the longest strike in SAG history.

A few mid-sized production centers in the northeast are currently battling potential cuts to their incentive programs. Reduced tax credits in Philadelphia and Massachusetts could potentially impact production volumes in Ontario, which often competes against those jurisdictions for production.

As reported in Philly Voice, the dismal state of Pennsylvania's state budget led industry advocates in Philadelphia this week to pre-emptively strike against the spectre of cuts by staging a star-studded rally on the “Rocky Steps” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Proposed changes to Massachusetts' tax incentives include a requirement that eligible projects film 75% - up from the current 50% - in the jurisdiction and a cap of $1 million on salaries as an eligible production expense. Despite protests from industry stakeholders, an editorial in the Boston Globe last week endorsed the cuts which have been included in the Senate budget.

A wide-ranging report on the future of entertainment as an economic driver grabbed headlines across various media this week. PwC’s 2017 Global Entertainment and Media Outlook forecast anemic revenue growth — or declines — over the next five years, with mature segments like film, pay TV and television advertising under pressure and digital content expanding at a slowing rate. As detailed in Variety below, segments expected to grow include Internet adverting, Virtual Reality and eSports.

Finally this week, there were two nationally distributed stories out of Ontario which indicated very good prospects indeed for local screen-based stakeholders. The Globe and Mail took at look at how the success of Orphan Black, now shooting its fifth and final season, blew open the doors for sumptuous-looking, well-written Canadian co-pros, including The Handmaid’s Tale, Alias Grace and Anne – and ushered in the glimmerings of a Maple Golden Age.

And a Toronto Star article examined the factors contributing to a local production industry that surged past $2 billion last year.

Warmest regards,

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

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