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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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October 11, 2017

September 29th News Report from your Los Angeles Representative

Happy Friday everyone,

A year and a half after announcing a cultural policy review in which "everything was on the table", Canadian Minister of Heritage Melanie Joly yesterday unveiled key recommendations, which included no new taxes on streaming services or Internet service providers, but a five-year, $500-million planned investment by Netflix in Canadian content and distribution.

The Globe and Mail covered the top 10 key takeaways from the announcement which also included increasing the federal contribution to the Canada Media Fund and $125-million in new funding over five years for a Creative Export Strategy to boost the sales of CanCon around the world.

While many cheered the increased investment from the Feds and Netflix, there was also controversy over what the latter's $500 commitment will actually mean. The Globe also highlighted some of the questions, criticisms and concerns that followed yesterday's announcement.

British Columbia released some impressive production spend numbers this week. As reported by Global News below, Creative BC says motion picture expenditures in the province are estimated to top $2.6 billion this fiscal year – the highest ever – up 35 per cent from 2015-2016.

Production here in Los Angeles is also booming. The California Film Commission touted stats this week that show below-the-line entertainment industry employees in the state saw a 12% hike in hours worked in 2016, compared with 2014. As detailed in Variety below, California's 2015 increase in annual tax credits from $100 million to $330 million has attracted or retained 100 film and television projects generating an estimated $3.7 billion in direct in-state spending, including $1.4 billion in below-the-line wages.

After nearly a year, the fight between prominent video game companies and Hollywood’s largest labor union could soon be over. As reported in the L.A. Times below, SAG-AFTRA said Monday it has reached a tentative deal to end its strike against 11 video game companies after agreeing to a new bonus compensation structure for actors who perform voice and motion-capture work in the game industry.

Many screen-based stakeholders are still trying to determine how to best monetize Virtual Reality technology, but a bold-face name is investing in bringing VR to the Multiplex. As detailed in the Times below, Dreamscape Immersive, financed in part by filmmaker Steven Spielberg, has struck a deal with theater chain AMC to bring up to six location-based VR centers - as either standalone venues or in existing AMC multiplexes - to the U.S. and U.K. The company hopes that consumers will flock to the spaces to sample the technology they have thus far largely stayed away from at hom‎e.

Finally this week, skyrocketing television budgets - predicted by some to hit $20 million an episode - were the subject of a in-depth feature in Variety. As detailed below, while the current boom is fueling a financial windfall for in-demand talent and sparking a vast expansion of the storytelling palette, there are worries of an overheated market that’s heading for a crash.

Warmest regards,

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

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