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'It's going to be a very difficult summer': Greater Victoria film industry shaken by Hollywood strike


Thousands of film and television workers in Greater Victoria are on edge Friday, one day after unionized American actors joined film and television writers on the picket lines.

Actors in the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) went on strike Thursday after contract negotiations with the production companies, studios and streaming services that employ them fell through.

Kathleen Gilbert, film commissioner with the Vancouver Island South Film and Media Commission, says the strike will affect about 500 crew in the Capital Regional District and many more actors and background performers.

"It's going to hit everybody hard," Gilbert said Friday. "It's going to be a very difficult summer for our local crew."

The horror-comedy television series Reginald the Vampire just wrapped production in Victoria, leaving a bulk of the local production crew currently out of work.

"Probably 70 or 80 per cent of our productions here in Victoria – and it's probably even larger in B.C. – are American productions," Gilbert said.

"Even the Hallmark movies that get filmed here, a lot of those actors are American actors. So we'll still have the Canadian reality shows and the music videos and the documentaries – those will probably still continue but that's really not our bread and butter here in Victoria. It really is the streaming services and the L.A. productions."

Approximately 300 production workers in Victoria are full-time, relying entirely on the industry for their income, while another 200 or so are part-time workers with other employment, Gilbert said.

"If you add the actors and the background performers into that, we're up into the thousands of people this is going to affect in the CRD," she said.

"We just really hope this is resolved quickly and everyone can come to a fair and equitable agreement for both sides."

The film commissioner said many in the Canadian industry are now watching to see what the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) will do in response to the U.S .strike.

"We know that they're very supportive of their partners down in the States," Gilbert said. "So they're nervous. People are going to really need to get back to work." Top Stories

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