Canada awaits H'wood's return


The Canadian film and TV production industry plans a major offensive in the coming months to woo back displaced or disgruntled U.S. studios and independent producers after settlement of the country's first actors strike (HR 2/23).

As industry execs gathered in Ottawa for the annual convention of independent producers, the same question was on everyone's lips: When are the Americans returning?

Richard Perotto, a Toronto-based business rep for IATSE Local 667 in Toronto, cautioned it is still early but said he saw encouragement from the phone calls fielded from Los Angeles since North American producers and striking Canadian actors reached a tentative labor deal Tuesday (HR 2/21).

"They want to use Toronto. It's a big, empty cavern now," Perotto said, pointing to vacant studio space looking for tenants.

Even during the six-week ACTRA strike, Universal and Marvel Entertainment were scouting studio locations in Vancouver and Toronto for the second installment of the "Hulk" franchise, and the Ontario industry hopes to end the drought in U.S. location shooting here by snagging the shoot.

On the TV side, the Canadians accept that they'll come up empty during the upcoming pilot season, losing potential series if they're given the green light.

"We're looking at trying to salvage the summer," Ron Haney, CEO and executive director of the Directors Guild of Canada, said as he prepared to join a delegation of Canadian guilds and unions bound for Los Angeles to entice the major studios back north.

"We're going to Los Angeles to deliver a strong message of stability and predictability," Haney said. "We're open for business, looking ahead and not back."