General News

SAG petition scored by MPAA, U.S. film offices

Aug 22, 2001 | 2:45pm EDT

A petition by the Screen Actors Guild calling on the Commerce Department to investigate whether Canada's film subsidies and tax rebates amount to unfair trade practices has drawn criticism on both sides of the border, the Los Angeles Times reported today (Wednesday). Mark DesRoches, film commissioner of British Columbia, maintained that the guild was taking a "Chicken Little" approach. Pointing out that British Columbia did $1.2 billion in total film business last year compared with $28 billion in Southern California alone, DesRoches told the Times, "That's not even apples and oranges. It's watermelons and limes." Film commissioners in U.S. cities warned that SAG's move could touch off a round of escalating tariffs. Dawn Keezer, who heads an alliance of nearly 200 film commissioners, commented: "We see it as a protectionist move. We see it as something that will cost us jobs." And MPAA spokesman Rich Taylor told the newspaper: "Our industry is in danger of muddying our message: ... We are in favor of a free market for our films."

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