Nov 30, 2020
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Americans scooping up key jobs on Canadian film sets thanks to new rules from Ottawa

It all looked so lovely on the surface.

A sound stage full of craftspeople in the cinema and television industry greeted Michael Coteau, Ontario’s minister of culture, with warm applause Wednesday morning as he announced that film and TV pumped $1.5 billion into the Ontario economy in 2015, making it the best year on record.

“We are so proud of the work that is taking place and I look forward to another great year of success,” Coteau told the crowd at Cinespace Film Studios, as people quaffed mimosas and ate bite-sized quiches. “Thank you so much for telling our great stories here in Ontario.”

Coteau said that the film and TV industry employed “almost 32,5000 full-time direct and associated jobs” last year, up almost 4,500 jobs from 2014.

Even Guillermo del Toro, the Mexican film-maker known for making Pacific Rim and Hellboy joined into the merry-making.

“I’m here to pimp for the province,” del Toro joked. Behind him sprawled the set of The Strain, his big-budget horror vampire TV show for FX.

But some in the motion picture industry say that underneath the celebration and the fizzy drinks lurks a darker truth about the business.

A change to Canada’s immigration rules which came into effect last month, the C14 exemption, makes it easier for U.S. film and TV productions to bring in Americans to fill key creative roles such as director of photography, costume designer or production designer.

“U.S. shows don’t have to do a labour market impact assessment or advertise the position,” said Daniel Levy, a lawyer with Campbell Cohen in Montreal. “You can just apply for the work permit. The government is not going to open the door to everybody — just key creative people.”

Cohen said he has recently applied on behalf of a TV production company in Vancouver to bring in two American workers under the new exemption, which he said saves the producers $1000 per employee.

“If it works, we can do more of them,” he said.

Three veteran costume designers spoke to the Financial Post on condition of anonymity. They said that increasingly, U.S. films and TV shows invite them to “fake” interviews and then bring in U.S. costume designers instead.

“You walk in and they barely say hi to you,” one costume designer said, describing a job interview. “That is not normal.”

Another veteran costume designer said, “If they want our tax credits, then shouldn’t they at least make an effort to hire us? The unions are agreeing that there is no one here who can do the job, which is awful.”

The costume designers said the Toronto union, local 873 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, regularly signs letters allowing American workers to join productions.

By one count, 13 new film or TV projects whose crews belong to IATSE have come to Toronto so far this year. Of those, 11 have hired American costume designers.

“Nobody is getting interviews anymore,” said a third costume designer.

Monte Montgomerie, business agent for IATSE 873 insisted, “We are not doing anything differently than we did a few years ago.”

His local has swelled to a record 2,600 members, he added. “We are thriving right now.”

Asked about the increased reliance on U.S. creative professionals, Coteau said, “We need to attract international production.” The minister added, “If you can hire a person locally, that’s the best thing.”

Del Toro noted that he only employs Canadians. In August he will shoot a new movie in Toronto, whose name is still a secret. “The wardrobe, production designer, sound mixing and visual affects are all Canadian,” he said. “And we will do all the post-production in Toronto.”

“Once you spend time here you get to know the local talent,” del Toro added. “The studios are completely open to local heads of departments. The trick is to know a costume designer.”

Source: Financial Post

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Front Page, Headline, Industry News

Americans scooping up key jobs on Canadian film sets thanks to new rules from Ottawa

It all looked so lovely on the surface.

A sound stage full of craftspeople in the cinema and television industry greeted Michael Coteau, Ontario’s minister of culture, with warm applause Wednesday morning as he announced that film and TV pumped $1.5 billion into the Ontario economy in 2015, making it the best year on record.

“We are so proud of the work that is taking place and I look forward to another great year of success,” Coteau told the crowd at Cinespace Film Studios, as people quaffed mimosas and ate bite-sized quiches. “Thank you so much for telling our great stories here in Ontario.”

Coteau said that the film and TV industry employed “almost 32,5000 full-time direct and associated jobs” last year, up almost 4,500 jobs from 2014.

Even Guillermo del Toro, the Mexican film-maker known for making Pacific Rim and Hellboy joined into the merry-making.

“I’m here to pimp for the province,” del Toro joked. Behind him sprawled the set of The Strain, his big-budget horror vampire TV show for FX.

But some in the motion picture industry say that underneath the celebration and the fizzy drinks lurks a darker truth about the business.

A change to Canada’s immigration rules which came into effect last month, the C14 exemption, makes it easier for U.S. film and TV productions to bring in Americans to fill key creative roles such as director of photography, costume designer or production designer.

“U.S. shows don’t have to do a labour market impact assessment or advertise the position,” said Daniel Levy, a lawyer with Campbell Cohen in Montreal. “You can just apply for the work permit. The government is not going to open the door to everybody — just key creative people.”

Cohen said he has recently applied on behalf of a TV production company in Vancouver to bring in two American workers under the new exemption, which he said saves the producers $1000 per employee.

“If it works, we can do more of them,” he said.

Three veteran costume designers spoke to the Financial Post on condition of anonymity. They said that increasingly, U.S. films and TV shows invite them to “fake” interviews and then bring in U.S. costume designers instead.

“You walk in and they barely say hi to you,” one costume designer said, describing a job interview. “That is not normal.”

Another veteran costume designer said, “If they want our tax credits, then shouldn’t they at least make an effort to hire us? The unions are agreeing that there is no one here who can do the job, which is awful.”

The costume designers said the Toronto union, local 873 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, regularly signs letters allowing American workers to join productions.

By one count, 13 new film or TV projects whose crews belong to IATSE have come to Toronto so far this year. Of those, 11 have hired American costume designers.

“Nobody is getting interviews anymore,” said a third costume designer.

Monte Montgomerie, business agent for IATSE 873 insisted, “We are not doing anything differently than we did a few years ago.”

His local has swelled to a record 2,600 members, he added. “We are thriving right now.”

Asked about the increased reliance on U.S. creative professionals, Coteau said, “We need to attract international production.” The minister added, “If you can hire a person locally, that’s the best thing.”

Del Toro noted that he only employs Canadians. In August he will shoot a new movie in Toronto, whose name is still a secret. “The wardrobe, production designer, sound mixing and visual affects are all Canadian,” he said. “And we will do all the post-production in Toronto.”

“Once you spend time here you get to know the local talent,” del Toro added. “The studios are completely open to local heads of departments. The trick is to know a costume designer.”

Source: Financial Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Front Page, Headline, Industry News

Americans scooping up key jobs on Canadian film sets thanks to new rules from Ottawa

It all looked so lovely on the surface.

A sound stage full of craftspeople in the cinema and television industry greeted Michael Coteau, Ontario’s minister of culture, with warm applause Wednesday morning as he announced that film and TV pumped $1.5 billion into the Ontario economy in 2015, making it the best year on record.

“We are so proud of the work that is taking place and I look forward to another great year of success,” Coteau told the crowd at Cinespace Film Studios, as people quaffed mimosas and ate bite-sized quiches. “Thank you so much for telling our great stories here in Ontario.”

Coteau said that the film and TV industry employed “almost 32,5000 full-time direct and associated jobs” last year, up almost 4,500 jobs from 2014.

Even Guillermo del Toro, the Mexican film-maker known for making Pacific Rim and Hellboy joined into the merry-making.

“I’m here to pimp for the province,” del Toro joked. Behind him sprawled the set of The Strain, his big-budget horror vampire TV show for FX.

But some in the motion picture industry say that underneath the celebration and the fizzy drinks lurks a darker truth about the business.

A change to Canada’s immigration rules which came into effect last month, the C14 exemption, makes it easier for U.S. film and TV productions to bring in Americans to fill key creative roles such as director of photography, costume designer or production designer.

“U.S. shows don’t have to do a labour market impact assessment or advertise the position,” said Daniel Levy, a lawyer with Campbell Cohen in Montreal. “You can just apply for the work permit. The government is not going to open the door to everybody — just key creative people.”

Cohen said he has recently applied on behalf of a TV production company in Vancouver to bring in two American workers under the new exemption, which he said saves the producers $1000 per employee.

“If it works, we can do more of them,” he said.

Three veteran costume designers spoke to the Financial Post on condition of anonymity. They said that increasingly, U.S. films and TV shows invite them to “fake” interviews and then bring in U.S. costume designers instead.

“You walk in and they barely say hi to you,” one costume designer said, describing a job interview. “That is not normal.”

Another veteran costume designer said, “If they want our tax credits, then shouldn’t they at least make an effort to hire us? The unions are agreeing that there is no one here who can do the job, which is awful.”

The costume designers said the Toronto union, local 873 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, regularly signs letters allowing American workers to join productions.

By one count, 13 new film or TV projects whose crews belong to IATSE have come to Toronto so far this year. Of those, 11 have hired American costume designers.

“Nobody is getting interviews anymore,” said a third costume designer.

Monte Montgomerie, business agent for IATSE 873 insisted, “We are not doing anything differently than we did a few years ago.”

His local has swelled to a record 2,600 members, he added. “We are thriving right now.”

Asked about the increased reliance on U.S. creative professionals, Coteau said, “We need to attract international production.” The minister added, “If you can hire a person locally, that’s the best thing.”

Del Toro noted that he only employs Canadians. In August he will shoot a new movie in Toronto, whose name is still a secret. “The wardrobe, production designer, sound mixing and visual affects are all Canadian,” he said. “And we will do all the post-production in Toronto.”

“Once you spend time here you get to know the local talent,” del Toro added. “The studios are completely open to local heads of departments. The trick is to know a costume designer.”

Source: Financial Post

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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