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July 10, 2017

July 7th News Report from your Los Angeles Representative

Happy Friday everyone,

To the great relief of everyone, SAG-AFTRA reached a tentative agreement Tuesday with the major Hollywood studios on a new three-year contract. As reported in the Los Angeles Times, SAG-AFTRA is the last of the three big unions to negotiate a new contract. Both the Writers Guild of America and the Directors Guild ratified their new three-year contracts earlier this year.
http://www.latimes.com/business/hollywood/la-fi-ct-sag-aftra-deal-20170704-story.html

Terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are scheduled to be renegotiated soon and there are calls for the VFX sector to be considered in upcoming trade talks. As reported on the industry web site KFTV, US visual effects experts are feeling the pressure from Canada’s incentives and have been taking part in public hearings in Washington, DC.
http://www.kftv.com/news/2017/07/05/american-vfx-industry-feeling-canadian-squeeze

Last October you may recall me reporting back from the reception for Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin of the Dalian Wanda Group. He threw a lavish affair in Los Angeles for film and television stakeholders in order to market his new $8-billion filmmaking complex in the coastal city of Qingdao and announce his arrival as an industry force. At the time, Jianlin was bold about his intention to buy one of the big six studios and admonished Hollywood that it was time to acknowledge Chinese tastes and preferences.

Nine months later things are looking a little different. As detailed in an LA Times feature this week, with China’s banking regulator last month starting investigations into borrowing for overseas investment by Wanda and other companies, the narrative of Wang as a Hollywood conqueror is looking more like a tale of hubris meeting harsh realities.
http://www.latimes.com/business/hollywood/la-fi-ct-wanda-hollywood-struggles-20170706-story.html

Finally this week, a story about the relatively lukewarm Chinese box office performance of the latest Transformers movie reminded me of that evening last fall when Wang Jianlin warned his audience that Chinese movie-goers would soon grow tired of mindless, SPFX-laden, action films. As detailed in the China Film Insider below, the film's significant decline from 2014’s Age of Extinction signals a change in fortune not only for China’s most lucrative franchise, but Hollywood franchises in general.
http://chinafilminsider.com/china-transformers-disaster/

Warmest regards,
Kelly

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

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