Hollywood strike’s impact on B.C. film industry still unclear: government

As unionized Hollywood writers have passed 100 days of strike action, the B.C. government is still working to figure out how big of an impact the situation has had on Hollywood North.

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) reached the century mark on the picket line Wednesday. The Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) also joined the writers, who are pushing major production studios for better compensation among other sticking points.

It’s led to a large portion of North America’s film and television industry to halt productions, including projects in B.C.

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In an email to CityNews, the province’s Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport says it is “working closely” with Creative BC to assess the full impact of the strike on the local economy.

“While B.C. based film and television writers are not on strike, the majority of the B.C.’s film activity comes from U.S. based productions resulting in B.C.’s film and television industry facing significant impacts. Approximately 85% of B.C.’s film industry is foreign service productions and many domestic productions use SAG-AFTRA talent,” the ministry said.

The ministry points out that pre-production for some shows is still taking place, and independent projects are still continuing as usual.

While it’s still too early to tell the full economic impact of the strike, the ministry says the film and television industry provides billions of dollars to the B.C. economy.

In 2022, it explains there were over 500 productions filmed in B.C., generating about $3.6 billion and providing more than 88,000 jobs.

“We hope that the parties will be able to resolve their dispute soon through the collective bargaining process,” the ministry said.

Related Video: Canada’s Film, TV industry feeling impacts of Hollywood strike

When SAG-AFTRA joined the WGA on the picket line last month, Creative BC issued a statement saying, “We respect the process and all parties.”

“We are watching the situation closely and hope for a timely resolution, bringing business in B.C. and North America back to scale,” the statement added.

The WGA, representing 11,500 unionized screenwriters, began strike action on May 2 after failing to reach a new contract agreement with studios. SAG-AFTRA joined the picket lines on July 14.

With files from Liza Yuzda and Mike Lloyd

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