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August 5, 2016

August 5th News Report from your Los Angeles Representative

Weekly Update from Kelly Graham-Scherer, Los Angeles Representative

Happy Friday everyone,

After a quiet last few weeks, there was a flood of news this week related to the screen-based industries and of potential interest to Ontario stakeholders.

Recipients of the latest round of California tax credits for feature films were announced this week, amid much fanfare in the trades. As detailed in the Hollywood Reporter below, 91 feature films applied, and 28 were chosen, this round to divvy up $108 million in tax credits.

That was the good news for stakeholders in Los Angeles. The not-so-good-news (from their perspective) came via a report from film permitting and advocacy group FilmLA, which revealed LA’s share of overall TV pilot production in the U.S. and Canada dropped to the lowest level on record in the last year. As detailed in the L.A. Times below, top competitors for pilot production last season were New York (28 pilots), Vancouver (25), Atlanta (15) and Toronto (12).

It was no surprise to industry watchers that Atlanta showed up in FilmLA's report as a top production spot for pilots. According to a new report from the Georgia Governor's office and detailed in the Atlanta Journal Constitution below, total film spending in the state topped $2 billion in the 2016 fiscal year that ended July 31, up nearly 19 percent compared to budget year 2015 and more than seven times the figure Hollywood spent in Georgia in 2008.

Unless you've been living under a rock (or maybe hanging at the cottage) for the last several weeks, you know that the Toronto-shot feature Suicide Squad is opening in theaters this weekend. The Los Angeles Times this week reports that the success of the film is of crucial importance to Warner Brothers.

Suicide Squad has already been of crucial importance to Ontario: the Canadian arm of the Motion Picture Association issued a press release yesterday crediting the film's 98 days of filming, and 168 days of pre and post shoot work, for the creation of 4,707 jobs and a spend of more than $80 million in the province.

There were a few articles this week that will interest those following the growth and trends in the increasingly important world of on-line video streaming.

The Los Angeles Times reports that media giant Time Warner will acquire a 10 per cent stake in Hulu, better positioning it to compete with industry leader Netflix by bulking up Hulu’s supply of high-quality programming.

The Times also took a look at how the success of the low-budget horror film Lights Out - which was based on a three-minute Youtube short - represents a potential watershed moment for studios looking to YouTube as a source of inexpensive, untapped talent and ideas.

News that shocked Ontario's animation sector also made the LA-based trades this week: the Hollywood Reporter covered news that Arc Productions, the Toronto studio behind the kids show Thomas and Friends and the upcoming Netflix series Tarzan and Jane, filed for bankruptcy protection.

Finally this week: just for fun, take a look at Blog TO's recent list of the 1970s, Toronto-shot movies and TV shows that best showcased iconic sites like the CN Tower, The Eaton Centre, Ontario Place, The Metro Zoo and CityTV. 

Warmest regards,

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

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