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April 21, 2017

April 21st News Report from your Los Angeles Representative

Happy Friday everyone,

Hollywood continues to wait on tenterhooks this week as the May 1st expiration of the Writers Guild of America's current contract looms ever closer. As reported by Los Angeles Times below, talks between the WGA and the major studios have been put on hold for one week, virtually guaranteeing that negotiations will go down to the wire.

Over the last few weeks several news outlets have taken in-depth looks at the issues behind the apparent impasse between the writers and the studios. The New York Times wins my award this week for most succinct analysis of what's at stake for both sides.

Last week I related a proclamation by Netflix that it planned to concentrate its original production in California and not seek tax incentives in other jurisdictions: this week an announcement from Marvel underscored that incentives continue to be a driving factor for the majority of producers. As detailed in Deadline below, Marvel Studios' president this week said he’d “love to” shoot blockbuster films in California, but tax incentives “a big part” of why he doesn't.

Right behind Netflix and tax incentives, surely the next most talked about trend in this report has got to be Virtual Reality. This week the Los Angeles Times had a really fascinating report on how tourism has become a fertile field for VR content creators in Southern California and beyond.

Finally this week, last evening I had the honor of attending a reception celebrating this Sunday's U.S. premier of the new Canadian series Mary Kills People. The show's debut on Lifetime Sunday night is an important one as the show's success will encourage LA-based executives to take a longer look at Canadian content. Below is a glowing review published in Variety's influential reviews section last week - it's a piece that had everyone last night buzzing with excitement, as it called the show one of the most impressive debuts of the year, while noting it was made "with a fraction of the resources of most American shows".

Warmest regards,

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

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