Canadian film guilds divided on pay plan for low-cost pix

CLIPP to help indigenous industry compete globally

VANCOUVER — Canuck film producers are elated with a new cut-rate payment formula for low-budget films just announced in eastern Canada by the actors’ union ACTRA, but the British Columbia ACTRA affiliate union may not follow suit.

The eastern deal is a one-year trial with Toronto producers only by the Alliance of Canadian Cinema and Television and Radio Artists. It allows Canuck filmmakers to hire top Canadian talent at a reduced wage scale. Called CLIPP (Canadian Low-budget Incentive for Performers and Producers), the ACTRA initiative aims at helping Canada’s nearly invisible indigenous industry to compete on a global level.

But the Union of B.C. Performers, the independent ACTRA affiliate here, says the industry’s financial problems should be placed on the banks — not the back of working actors.

Richard Mendoca, chief operating officer of the B.C. union said a program like CLIPP sounds great, but the reality of the situation is actors get paid less, and that goes against the principle of trade unionism. “Producers need to get more investors, and banks need to open up their purse strings if they believe in Canadian culture,” Mendoca said.

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