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Dear fellow ACTRA Maritimes’ Members,

We are just three weeks into 2018 and it has already been a busy and eventful year. So let me tell you what your ACTRA Maritimes’ council and staff have been up to so far.

Our Training Committee kicked things off with our Training and Talent conference. Joanne Miller and Dave Rossetti organized a day packed with workshops and discussion panels aimed at increasing work opportunities for our members; including local Casting Directors, a fantastic Voice & Dialect Coach (who just happens to be an ACTRA Maritimes Past-President), and special guest acting coach Lewis Baumander of Toronto’s Casting Central. Staff and Council were on hand for New Member Orientation and to help with signing up for ACTRAonline. Councillor Koumbie along with her film-making partner Taylor Olson and ACTRA Maritimes’ IPA Business Representative Eva, gave a very informative tutorial on creating your own films using our MIP agreement. In addition, we introduced our ‘made-in-the-Maritimes’, newly revised AIP agreement. Your Council listened to feedback from local indie producers, and we believe these changes will make it easier than ever for them to hire professional ACTRA performers for their next project.

I have to give special thanks to the mother of one of our youth members. When a power outage threatened to cancel our afternoon sessions, she made a phone call and literally saved the day!

The two workshops that did have to be postponed (Being an ACTRA Parent with Angela Poole and Self-Tape Auditions with Chris Cuthbertson) will be re-offered, so keep an eye out for the new dates.

On the Political Action front, Branch Representative Richard Hadley and myself continue to advocate on behalf of our local industry; meeting with provincial MLAs, and collaborating with Screen Nova Scotia to increase production to pre-2015 levels. We are very happy that Development Funding has been announced for local screenwriters and we remain hopeful that Equity Financing will also be reinstated. Please keep telling your own provincial politicians how important this is to our success.

ACTRA Maritimes’ Women’s Committee hosted a meeting with local industry partners (SNS, IATSE, DGC, CMPA, WIFT, and AFCOOP) to share updates on steps that are being made both nationally and regionally to end harassment of all kinds, and foster safety and respect in our workplace. Three working groups have been tasked with creating an industry-wide code of conduct, safe reporting systems, and education and training initiatives. This work will also include the goal of achieving gender parity and diversity both on and off camera. Women’s Chair Shelley Thompson and myself with be attending the ACTRA National Women’s Committee meeting in Toronto in early February where we expect to finalize these enhanced policies and procedures. The time for change is now. I am proud of the overwhelming and unanimous support of all Canadian artistic organizations to make this change a reality.

And here are a few more things I am proud of: The 2018 Canadian Screen Awards have been announced and several Nova Scotia-shot productions have made the list. This Hour Has 22 Minutes garnered five nominations including Best Sketch Comedy Program or Series; Mr. D has three nominations and Pure also has three including Best Dramatic Series. I would especially like to congratulate our nominated ACTRA Maritimes’ members: Jonathan Torrens, Best Host in a Program or Series (Your Special Canada); Jennie Raymond, Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series (Sex&Violence); Jeremie Saunders, Best Documentary Program (host of Sickboy); and producer/director Cory Bowles, whose feature Black Cop is nominated for the prestigious John Dunning Discovery Award.

Did you know that 2018 marks ACTRA’s 75th Birthday? Well you will very soon. Celebrations are in the works starting with two special anniversary editions of ACTRA Magazine. The first one (due out at the end of this month) features an interview with ACTRA Maritimes’ members Cory Bowles and Koumbie, a congratulatory ‘applause’ to our Past President and Past National Councillor Jeremy Webb, and a heartfelt ‘farewell’ tribute to our beloved John Dunsworth.

When I look back at the tremendous work we’ve produced here; the talented professionals who are determined to continue to call the East Coast home, and the commitment of those professionals to always do better; I’m confident this community will continue to thrive. Let’s make this year one to truly celebrate.

In solidarity,

Francine Deschepper
Branch President and National Councillor
ACTRA Maritimes


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