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“It’s amazing what a little labour peace can do for the film business”


Right before Americans took off to burn gas and grill meat over the Memorial Day weekend, this article appeared on

Montreal gladly reclaims its ‘Hollywood North’ tag


It’s amazing what a little labour peace can do for the film business. Only two months after a long, bitter dispute between two rival film technicians unions was finally resolved, local movie folks are positively euphoric as they gear up for their busiest period of Hollywood shooting in years.

Cate Blanchett, Brad Pitt, Brendan Fraser, Jet Li, Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway, Evangeline Lilly and John Malkovich are all on their way to shoot in Montreal in the coming weeks, and Hans Fraikin – film commissioner at the Quebec Film and Television Council – said Hollywood filming in the city is definitely going to top last year’s tally of $150 million.

He thinks the total might actually inch toward the $200-million mark and he said the boom is directly tied to the resolution in late February of the feud between the Alliance quebecoise des techniciens de l’image et du son (AQTIS), the local film union, and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), an American union. They were fighting over who should represent the province’s film workers.

“We were close to total industrial implosion at the beginning of the year,” Fraikin said. “It was Armageddon. Now it’s looking healthier than expected. But we worked hard on resolving the conflict and convincing people that Quebec was open for business again. And it’s paying off.”

Indeed. It’s nice to hear of one place on the planet where Armageddon has been temporarily belayed. Or maybe not:

Local industry players got news this week that Death Race 3000 will be produced here. This is a remake of the 1975 cult classic Death Race 2000 that starred David Carradine and Sylvester Stallone in a story set in the future about a violent road race that takes place between New York and Los Angeles.

Death Race 2000 -- the original

If Hollywood walks out — I’ll have one off the cuff prognostication in my next blog post — and Canada keeps humming along, well, there’ll be quite a bit of road kill between New York and L.A. — L.A., especially — after all.

More of the article at the link above…

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