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September 19, 2017

September 8th News Report from your Los Angeles Representative

Happy Friday everyone,

I'm sorry that I'm not in Toronto right now experiencing TIFF fever for myself, but the trades are so chock-full of articles originating from the festival, it's definitely the next best thing.

But let's start in Los Angeles.

The Motion Picture Association of America got a new chief this week and Hollywood is watching. The L.A. Times spoke with former Jim Henson Company executive Charles Rivkin about the difficulties he will face as the top Washington lobbyist for Hollywood at a time of great uncertainty driven by changes in consumer behavior.

Netflix suffered a bit of a one-two punch this week.

First, as Variety reports below, Disney CEO Bob Iger ended speculation about what would happen to the Marvel and Lucasfilm titles currently on Netflix, after the recent announcement that Disney would launch its own branded, direct-to-consumer streaming service. Iger confirmed the company had decided to move the films to its forthcoming streaming service, set to launch in 2019.

Second, in a rare moment of executive candor, the head of 20th Century Fox Film delivered a verbal beating to Netflix, saying that the streaming giant offers no advantages to filmmakers or movie-lovers, and that its days as a dominant force in Hollywood are numbered. As detailed in the L.A. Times below, Stacey Snider's harsh words come as Netflix’s relationship with Hollywood continues to grow more tense.

The Emmy Awards are fast approaching and the trades are starting to cover all the angles. The Hollywood Reporter this week examined the growing importance of Virtual Reality to the awards, noting that the range of competing VR projects has blossomed since 2015 when projects using VR technology were first eligible for the Creative Arts Emmys.

Back in Toronto, it's the time of year when Hollywood really takes notice of all the great things we already know about Ontario. The Hollywood Reporter this week published an in-depth interview with Dennis Berardi of VFX powerhouse Mr. X, who speaks about his work with acclaimed filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro. The article below also gives props to Ontario's tax credits and singles out several other Ontario VFX houses who are "Wooing Hollywood".

Unless you've been living under a rock, you probably know that Stephen King's It is opening this weekend and expected to break box office records. Business Insider this week took a look at the economic impact the Warner Brothers film had on Ontario's economy, citing $28.9 million in production spend and the employment of 1,255 cast and crew over 60 days of filming.

Finally this week, Ontario industry stakeholders are cheering the news that Cinespace Film Studios, which owns the facility where The Handmaid's Tale is filmed, will add 50,000 square feet of space to its 32-acre Kipling Avenue location. As reported in Bloomberg below, Toronto's film boom, driven by currency that’s trading at about 82 U.S. cents, generous tax breaks and a wealth of post-production talent, has created a huge demand for additional studio space.

Warmest regards,

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

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