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December 6, 2013

December 6th News Report from your Los Angeles Representative

TORONTO ONTARIO film office - A partnership of the Ontario Media Development Corporation, City of Toronto and FilmOntario.
WEEKLY UPDATE December 6, 2013
from Kelly Graham-Scherer, Los Angeles Representative - torontoontariofilm@gmail.com

Happy Friday everyone,

It was wonderful to see so many friendly faces last week at the 10th anniversary AGM of FilmOntario and to hear such a rousing endorsement of our industry by Premier Kathleen Wynne. Congratulations to Executive Director and CEO Sarah Ker-Hornell and FilmOntario board members past and present for building a strong and enduring organization to represent Ontario screen-based stakeholders.

Here in California the push to expand film and television tax credits appears to be morphing into a battle just to maintain the incentives the state already has. This week another editorial piece, published in the Sacramento Bee and syndicated in papers across the state, took aim at production tax credits in a stirring fashion by linking the rampant corruption of a bygone era to the current incentives program. http://www.sfexaminer.com/sanfrancisco/state-tax-credit-marred-by-scandal-facts/Content?oid=2637768

Another editorial dig at film and television incentives appeared in The Huffington Post this week. Its author's position can be summarized by the title of an earlier piece he references entitled "The Lunacy of State Tax Credits". His argument is one I suspect will start to be parroted at the state level in many jurisdictions across the U.S. in the new year as politicians flesh out their positions in advance of next fall's gubernatorial elections in 36 states. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/schuyler-m-moore/film-financing-with-state_b_4351404.html

Along with the mounting challenges the California industry lobby is facing, comes still more pressure from competing jurisdictions. The trades were abuzz this week that the U.K. has sweetened incentives for big budget films and extended them to include VFX work. As detailed in the Hollywood Reporter below, the U.K. credit on qualifying expenditures is on its way from 20 to 25% by 2015. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/uk-bolsters-tax-credits-big-662658

One of the most prolific Ontario-shot films ever is inching its way towards an Oscar nomination. As reported in Variety below, Pacific Rim has been shortlisted in the VFX category. http://variety.com/2013/film/news/oscar-visual-effects-bakeoff-list-announced-1200923238/

And finally this week, it's been a few weeks since filmmaker John Landis made controversial comments about the studio system, but I've included a story on them because his views have twice come up in conversations with L.A.-based contacts since they were made public. As detailed in the Hollywood Reporter below, Landis described today's film studios as "subdivisions of huge multinational corporations" and bluntly stated "These aren't companies, they are f---ing nations." http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/john-landis-rails-studios-theyre-659222

Please feel free to distribute this e-mail widely and to get in touch with me with comments or links for inclusion.

Warmest regards,

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

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