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President’s Message

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Fellow ACTRA Maritimes’ Members,

I can’t believe I’m writing to talk about the already-in-the-past, NS Provincial Election. That was a very speedy campaign. Your ACTRA council and staff tried its best to bring about a result which would see a legislated commitment to strengthening the film industry, and creating jobs for you, our members.

For three consecutive weeks, I sent out an ACTRA e-blast that gave our members links to the election web-site, the party platforms with regard to the Screen Industry, three pertinent questions to ask candidates at your door, ACTRA and SNS window signs to display, and a ‘Commit to Vote’ card. It is my hope that these messages encouraged all of our members to engage, and to vote, in the election.

After a nail-biter of an election night, the same government who badly damaged our livelihoods two years ago was once again elected. According to Global News, the difference between their winning a minority vs. a majority came down to as little as 137 votes. On top of that, the overall voter turnout was a mere 53%. Disappointing statistics, to be sure.

That said, there are, in fact, some positive things to have come out of this election. We now have two ACTRA Maritimes’ members sitting as MLAs in the House of Assembly: Lenore Zann was re-elected in Truro/Bible Hill/Millbrook-Salmon River, and Sue Leblanc was newly elected in Dartmouth North. I couldn’t think of two better people to champion for us in the legislature.

Also in the good-news department; our Treasurer, Andrea Dymond, is happy to report that we are back up to pre-tax-credit-axing numbers in terms of work. In large part due to the 2016 productions of ‘The Mist’ and ‘Pure’ we have ended the fiscal year with a comfortable surplus. Therefore, ACTRA Maritimes is, for the time being, out of ‘austerity’ mode. Because of this, we were able to once again sponsor several film festivals and events this year, including the Women in Film and Television Atlantic “Women Making Waves” conference, the Maywork’s “Reel Justice” screening, the Emerging Lens Film Festival, the NS Merritt Awards, and the SNS Gala and ACTRA Maritimes’ Awards.

We’ve also held two free workshops for members so far this year: A ‘Political Action Training’ workshop, and a ‘Taxes for Actors’ workshop, both of which were well attended.

Lastly, and most notably, we were able to bring Commercial Steward Tami Thomson back home to the East Coast.

On June 4th, we held our ACTRA Maritimes’ AGM with National guests, ACTRA National Executive Director, Stephen Waddell, ACTRA Regional Executive Director, Daintry Dalton, President and CEO of ACTRA Fraternal Benefit Society, Bob Underwood, and newly elected ACTRA National President, David Sparrow.

We were also treated to a special appearance by Past ACTRA National President, Ferne Downey– fresh from the awarding of her honorary doctorate degree from Dalhousie University.

We were all very happy that Ferne happened to be in town, as we wanted an opportunity to thank her for her many years of service as ACTRA President, and to wish her all the best in her future endeavours.

I was once again impressed with the level of knowledge and passion our attending members displayed regarding the local screen industry. Much spirited discussion ensued, and your council is committed to taking action:

Moving forward, we will continue to work with Screen NS to advocate for our industry with the re-elected Liberal Government. To convince the Liberals of the importance of Equity & Development funding, so that our local writers and filmmakers can see their own projects get made, and by extension, see our ACTRA Maritimes’ members cast in more significant roles.

Your Political Action Committee will be organizing visits to MLA offices in the near future, and encouraging producers to invite politicians to visit film sets.

We will further strive toward Age & Gender Parity and Diversity in our region.

And we will try to stem the tide of commercial work that is shooting non-union. Currently in the works, SAG/AFTRA has partnered with ACTRA to develop a joint plan to address non-union production in North America. Under the #WorkingTogether initiative, the two unions will pool resources to promote the value of union work to employers and engagers.

Thank you to everyone who voted in the Provincial Election and to everyone who came out for our AGM. Your interest and involvement is something of which we can be proud.

In Solidarity,

Francine Deschepper, Branch President

ACTRA Maritimes

 
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