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October 24, 2016

October 21st News Report from your Los Angeles Representative

Weekly Update from Kelly Graham-Scherer, Los Angeles Representative

Happy Friday everyone,

On Monday of this week I had the honor of being in the Bing Theater at the LA County Museum of Art to hear Wang Jialin, China's richest man, introduce a well-heeled Hollywood crowd to his massive Qingdao Movie Metropolis complex and to the 40% tax incentive that he hopes will lure filmmakers there.

The $8.2 billion studio complex - which will host Pacific Rim 2 - was heralded as not only the biggest, but the most technologically advanced production facility anywhere, with 30 sound stages, a 56,000 square foot green screen stage, an underwater stage (temp controlled), and a New York street. The site includes a theme park, as well as a 4,000-room resort/hotel, a shopping mall, an entertainment center, condos, a conference center, a yacht club, a hospital and even a celebrity wax museum.

The tax incentive, which will be bankrolled by Jialin's Wanda Company and the City of Qingdao, is worth $750 million over five years ($150 million a year) and will rebate 40% of production spend.

Over the last several weeks I have been reprinting here stories about the investments Jialin's Wanda Group has been making in Hollywood, including the purchase of AMC, Legendary and interest in Sony Pictures. During his talk this week he encouraged Hollywood to work with Chinese filmmakers to produce stories that will appeal to both cultures. He predicted that the Chinese box office - currently at $8 billion - would grow to more than $10 billion and supersede the US box office by 2018 and further, estimated that by 2026 the Chinese box office would surpass $30 billion and account for 40-50% of global market share.

I encourage you to read more about Monday's event and the implications of Wanda's Hollywood ambitions in the comprehensive Deadline Hollywood story below - it also includes a transcript of Wang Jialin's remarks.

Almost lost in all the hype surrounding Wang Jialin's visit to Hollywood was news of another extremely significant partnership with China. An in-depth Los Angeles Times article below explores the implications of a deal announced this week to co-produce and co-finance movies between Stephen Spielberg's Amblin Partners and China's Internet tycoon Jack Ma of Alibaba Pictures.

Given all the tawdry accusattions coming out in the course of the US presidential campaign, the Los Angeles Times had an extremely timely article this week: it is reported below that the charges against Donald Trump are shining light on Hollywood's culture of sexual harassment.

In a related story, the Motion Picture Association of America President Chris Dodds supports incentivizing the hiring of more women behind the camera. As reported in Variety below, speaking in New York this week, Dodds supported a proposal from showrunner Beau Willimon and the Writers Guild of America East which asks that the state carve out $5 million of its tax credit for productions that hire female or minority writers or directors.

As of midnight last night, it's official: voice actors for video games are on strike in the U.S. and the Canadian actors union ACTRA has issued a do-not-work order in solidarity with SAG-AFTRA. An article published yesterday in the Hollywood Reporter details the grievances that have lead to the strike.

Finally this week, Vancouver has hired its first-ever film commissioner. As detailed in the Vancouver Sun below, David Shepheard, who most recently ran the film commission services for Film London, has been hired to market Vancouver's $2 billion-plus creative industries, to assume an advocacy role for the film and TV industry with all levels of government, to keep growing the business and to help bring in future investment.

Warmest regards,


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

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