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Hollywood North goes south amid strike

An idle truck is parked at William F. White International, a "Hollywood North" production services business in Burnaby, British Columbia affected by rare twin strikes by Hollywood actors and film/TV writers.

An idle truck is parked at William F. White International, a "Hollywood North" production services business in Burnaby, British Columbia affected by rare twin strikes by Hollywood actors and film/TV writers.

REUTERS/Chris Helgren

The SAG-AFTRA and Writers Guild strikes have industry workers in both the US and Canada worried.


Actors are demanding fair residual payments and a better deal for AI-driven use of their likenesses. But they’re up against deep-pocketed tech and entertainment firms that are reportedly prepared to drag this fight out – a fight that some fear could cost the US economy in excess of $3 billion.

The Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists and its nearly 30,000 members, meanwhile, are also feeling the pinch. Canada is home to a number of American television and film productions, particularly in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec, thanks to subsidies and tax credits that draw American productions north for foreign location service production. Production volume reached nearly $12 billion in 2021-2022, a 28% jump, according to the Media Producers Association. Foreign production work – largely from the US – also increased, rising to $6.71 billion, a jump of just over 23% year-over-year. That translates to over 140,000 jobs and $6.4 billion in labor income.

A prolonged strike will hit US workers and productions hard, and aid requests are already on the rise. With productions in Toronto and Vancouver already shut down, it’s expected to take a huge chunk out of Canadian paychecks too. Declining revenues, in turn, will lead to increased pressure on Washington to help foster a resolution, and on Ottawa to help provide financial assistance.

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