SAG deal works for Toronto

A tentative deal between the largest actors’ union in the U.S. and themajor studios is potentially good news for film and televisionproduction in Toronto and Canada.

A tentative deal between the largest actors’ union in the U.S. and the major studios is potentially good news for film and television production in Toronto and Canada.

The board of the U.S. Screen Actors Guild has narrowly approved a new agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, representing the major Hollywood studios, that could lead to the end of a two-year impasse.

That impasse has meant a dramatic decline in studio approvals of feature film productions, some of which get shot in Canada.

“That (tentative deal) is the good news. The bad news is that it looks like it’s going to take up to five or six weeks to get it ratified,” said Ken Ferguson, president of Filmport Studios, noting the agreement still requires mail-in ballot approval by the U.S. union’s 20,000 members, which isn’t likely to be completed until the end of May. “We’ve been waiting for this day for a long time. It is definitely going to be good for business. It may not necessarily open the floodgates but ... it removes a fairly major obstacle.”

Stephen Waddell, national executive director of the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists, said the SAG dispute has mostly held up studio approval of big-budget feature films.

With the Canadian dollar falling to about 80 cents U.S., the film and TV production industry here is once again poised to attract increasing amounts of U.S. business, Waddell said.

 
 
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