NABET 700-M UNIFOR represents over 3000 Film, Television and New Media Technicians in the province of Ontario.

100 Lombard Street
Suite 303
Toronto, ON
M5C 1M3
Tel: 416-536-4827
Toll-free: 1-888-428-0362
Fax: 416-536-0859


June 13, 2014

Weekly Update from Film Ontario, June 13, 2014

WEEKLY UPDATE June 13, 2014

Well, the polls and advisors were quite off base again as to election results in Ontario (as they were in BC and Alberta recently). The Ontario Liberals won the election yesterday, with a majority and a four year mandate.

The campaign team acknowledged our support, and I was invited to join in their celebrations last evening for Premier Wynne, as well as a few other local riding celebrations...a festive night indeed.

As you know, we worked diligently to ensure that their platform and campaign documents called for stability for our tax credits, investment opportunities for growth, and identified Ontario's screen-based industries as a key economic driver, delivering jobs, attracting private sector capital, technical and content innovations, and significant increases to international marketshare and co-production.

We succeeded, by patiently working together, respecting our relationships, and maintaining our focus.  Well done to all!

Premier Wynne will be putting forward their budget once again - an industry friendly budget!

The House will sit again commencing July 2, 2014 with their new Cabinet, and likely the Throne speech. Budget day could be as early as July 10th. Meetings began this morning at 9am to begin to assemble the new Ministers' teams and Management Board. It is our understanding that Minister Sousa will continue as Finance Minister.

We will continue to work closely with the government, to ensure that their commitments to our sector are kept, as they move forwards to meet their fiscal goals.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

Sarah Ker-Hornell
CEO & Executive Director


WEEKLY UPDATE June 13, 2014
from Kelly Graham-Scherer, Los Angeles Representative

Happy Friday everyone,

I spent all of last weekend at the Producers Guild of America conference here in L.A. and made a few observations based on the panels I attended and the people I spoke with.

The first is that television is completely dominant right now and that the bar is getting higher and higher for producers wishing to make a series, never mind foster a hit. Attendees were advised that not long ago there were three broadcast networks which had about 60-70 scripted series on air at any given time. When Fox joined the club, there were perhaps 80 scripted drama programs airing across genres.

Today there are dozens of networks and home viewers can choose from approximately 350 original scripted programs currently airing AND access the entire past history of television and film via services like Netflix. This almost unimaginable plethora of choice puts tremendous strain on executives, writers and content creators who want their product to rise above the fray and find its audience. Several premium cable executives at the conference said they needed to commit to airing a show for two to three years now in order to let that happen and that every single episode of a new show has to be great.

It's an incredible time to be a viewer but, especially in the premium space, the pressure for content creators to keep programming original and fresh is palpable. It's clear that people pitching new concepts need to be at the absolute top of their game.

As always, there was also a lot of talk about tax incentives at the conference. The Los Angeles-based industry is clearly on tenterhooks right now regarding whether the bill to expand California's program will make it through the Senate and be signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. There is still no dollar amount attached to the proposed bill, but for the first time this week I heard and read that the annual amount being sought is $475 million, which is an extremely significant jump from the $100 million currently allotted. If indeed a $450 million expansion is approved, there is no question that jurisdictions like Ontario, which attract a substantial amount of service work, will feel the impact.

Another common theme at the conference was the idea that production incentives are no longer upstart policies that California can afford to ride out. Jurisdictions like Louisiana and Georgia, long thought of as bold newcomers to the production service business, are now clearly considered elder industry statesmen. As reported in Variety below, the realization that incentives are now entrenched in the business model, may be what finally forces California to step up to the plate with new policies which will change, if not level, the playing field.

Another rally in support of an expanded California incentives program is planned for this weekend. As reported in Variety below, the rally in San Francisco tomorrow is intended to demonstrate that the proposed bill has support outside of Los Angeles.

Film and television industry stakeholders in North Carolina were dealt a bitter blow this week when the state's House Finance Committee voted down a bill to continue its tax credit program. As reported in the North Carolina-based Star News below, the decision is being viewed by industry advocates as an "epic disappointment".

The news that leading Ontario VFX firm Mr. X will be acquired by Technicolor generated a lot of headlines in the trades down here. As detailed in Variety below, Mr. X. will become Technicolor's brand for "high-concept TV, production, genre features and international film co-productions".

And this week, the Vancouver Sun had an article about the continued emergence of the city as a VFX and animation hub. According to the story below , the recent announcement that Sony Imageworks will make the move there from Los Angeles, "sends a message that Vancouver has developed into a world-class centre for visual effects and animation.”

Before I sign off this week I want to extend my heartiest congratulations to Ontario's Screen Industries Research and Training Centre for its role in Toronto beating off international competitors to be named The Intelligent Community of the Year. You can read all about the honour by following the link below to Sheridan College's press release.

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