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October 11, 2017

October 6th News Report from your Los Angeles Representative

Happy Friday everyone,

Many Ontario stakeholders have spent the last week digesting the cultural policy recommendations unveiled by Canadian Heritage Minister Melanie Joly at the end of last week. As reported in the Globe and Mail below, the agreement with Netflix to accept a $500 million, five-year investment in Cancon, in lieu of taxes and regulation, has the Minister under fire in Quebec.

News of the Netflix deal has also hit the Hollywood trades. The Hollywood Reporter below reports that the government's vision for the future of Canadian media and broadcasting, deciding to forgo tax revenue from U.S. video streamers, while getting promises of inward investment, has reopened a debate about how to fund homegrown digital content.

Netflix also made headlines this week for its announcement that its monthly subscription price would be increasing by $1 to $10.99 US. As detailed in the Hollywood Reporter below, the aim is to cover sky-high content costs as the search heats up for the next Orange is the New Black or House of Cards for Netflix to go up against Amazon's Transparent and Hulu's Emmy-winning The Handmaid's Tale.

Alberta's film industry got a boost this week. The Calgary Herald reports below that a new Screen-Based Production Grant will replace the Alberta Production Grant, boosting the amount of money available from $30 million to $45 million per year and upping the per-project cap from $5 million to $7.5 million for productions that “provide significant contributions to Alberta’s culture and economy.”

The last few years have seen enormous Chinese investment in Hollywood but China's recent crackdowns on foreign investment has impacted many marquee deals and sent Hollywood scrambling to find alternate funding. As reported in Bloomberg below, any reduction in the number of deep pockets is bad news for Hollywood because, with the exception of Walt Disney Co., the major movie studios all bring in financing partners to share the increasingly expensive costs of films

Cinephiles are eagerly awaiting the opening of Blade Runner 2049 this weekend. The Los Angeles Times has a story about the complex manner in which the film came together, that I think well illustrates how far entertainment companies are willing to go to generate so-called franchises that result in sequels and expansive "universes" of movies. As detailed below, studios and production companies have to place big bets on well-known intellectual property to survive in today's film industry.

Finally this week, the Hollywood Reporter has come out with its annual list of TV's 50 most powerful showrunners. The article is far too unwieldy to cut and paste below, but I encourage you to click on the link for insight on the medium's newest visionaries and trends.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I'll be with a group of industry ex-pats here in LA for the seventh year running, giving thanks for family and friends back in Ontario!

Warmest regards,

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

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