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February 7, 2014

February 7th 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 February 7, 2014
from Kelly Graham-Scherer, Los Angeles Representative -

Happy Friday everyone,

More legislation aimed at keeping production in California was in the news this week, as local industry advocates push on despite recent setbacks which include the sudden death of Film Czar Tom Sherak last month and an FBI investigation of a politician who accepted a bribe for his support of increased tax credits late last year.

As reported in the influential Sacramento Business Journal below, State Assemblyman Raul Baconegra has announced plans to introduce a bill to expand the state's incentives program in the next few days. He declined to give details, but his bill will apparently be combined with similar legislation introduced by fellow Democratic Assemblyman Mike Gatto last month.

The Sacramento Business Journal also reported that a bill was introduced this week to extend the current production incentives to commercials. As detailed below, the proposed legislation hopes to address declining commercial activity in California, which saw $1.1 billion in commercial production spending in 2012, a seven-year low, and down from spending of $1.7 billion in 2007.

An interesting report made the rounds at several newspapers across the U.S. this week and it is one that could potentially help or hurt those states which will be tasked to defend their incentives programs when the Gubernatorial elections roll around this fall. An organization called Good Jobs First has rated each of the 50 states on their on-line transparency with regards to incentives programs, including those aimed at the film and television industry. You can read the report here:

You can also read articles from Progress Illinois and Michigan's Detroit Free Press which touted their rankings of number one and two, respectively. There was less crowing from other production centers that scored lower on the list.

The past year has seen a lot of press regarding working conditions in the VFX industry and there was more this week. As detailed in the Hollywood Reporter below, the U.K. Screen Association -- which represents UK-based visual effects companies --  has issued a letter of complaint to the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU) in response to survey data on working conditions it says was gathered improperly.

There was bad news this week for workers at beleaguered Disney Interactive. As reported below in the Los Angeles Times, the video game and digital media subsidiary of the Walt Disney Co.,which lost more than $200 million a year between 2008 and 2012, is expected to begin a round of layoffs which could come as soon as this week.,0,4272150.story#axzz2sUY1A0Ch

The province of Alberta is hoping to attract more production business with the construction of a studio complex in Calgary. As detailed on a site for Global News below, the $22.8 million facility, which is scheduled to be open by next summer, will feature 20,000- and 30,000-square-foot sound stages as well as 18,000 square feet of warehouse space and up to 15,000 square feet for workshop space.

And finally this week, the VFX expertise and crews in Ontario were loudly touted at a conference currently being held in Vancouver. Speaking at Spark FW 2014, and reported in Playback, producer and director Guillermo del Toro  spoke favorably abut his experiences filming Pacific Rim and The Strain in Toronto.

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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