News out of Canada is that ACTRA, repping more than 21,000 English-language actors, will stand behind America’s Screen Actors Guild in the event of a strike authorization vote or even a strike. According to the Toronto Star, Stephen Waddell, national executive director of the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists said: “ACTRA will support the Screen Actors Guild to the greatest extent that we can. There is no other alternative for us. We are a trade union and we support our brothers and sisters.” That includes directing members not to work for any struck U.S. production that attempts to come north of the border to evade the U.S. guild’s jurisdiction. But Waddell said the dispute is bad news on both sides of the border. “The whole situation is unfortunate. The fact that this has been going on for so long means … there’s virtually no U.S. production shooting in Canada, which is a significant problem for our members,” Waddell said. In recent years, ACTRA members have benefited greatly from U.S. productions coming to Canada. But Waddell said standard fare – such as movies of the week, independent films and U.S. TV series work – has dried up in the past year following the WGA trike, which resulted in a dramatic drop-off in U.S. film and TV production in Canada. “Our members are hurting, as is the production community generally. Producers, technicians, we’re all being hurt by the lack of U.S. production in Canada,” said Waddell, who recently met with studio executives in L.A. to discuss the crisis. Waddell acknowledged there are limits on what ACTRA can do to discourage or prevent its members from taking work shipped north of the border. ACTRA has agreements with hundreds of Canadian production companies, almost all of them doing Canadian film and TV work. While U.S. producers who are not signatories to the ACTRA agreement would be frozen out, it would be difficult to prevent ACTRA members from working for Canadian companies that land contracts for U.S. productions, Waddell said.
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