IATSE, Quebec union resolve dispute

Deal paves way for U.S. productions to return

MONTREAL — An 18-month dispute between IATSE and the Quebec film technicians union has finally been resolved, paving the way for American productions to return to the province.

The Alliance Quebecoise des Techniciens de l’Image et du Son and IATSE reached a deal over the weekend. Details are under wraps until members of both unions vote on the deal later this week.

IATSE has been trying to break into Quebec to represent technicians on American film shoots here. But AQTIS argues that it has exclusive rights to rep Quebec technicians because of the province’s unusual Status of the Artist law.

The conflict blew up again last fall when AQTIS contested IATSE’s right to represent technicians working on “The Spiderwick Chronicles,” a legal wrangle still not resolved.

The fight has cost the province a number of Hollywood film shoots, including “Jumper,” which was shifted to Toronto, and Lakeshore Entertainment’s “Elegy,” which was slated to shoot in Montreal this spring; producers on the latter pic are now looking at other cities.

Quebec Culture Minister Line Beauchamp stepped into the fray two weeks ago and ordered both sides to make a deal. She appointed a government mediator, Gilles Charland, who brokered the agreement.

Settlement comes just days after Canuck thesps ended their six-week strike after the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists reached its own deal with Canadian producers.

“There’s half a dozen American films that are now possible,” said Raymond Guardia, executive director of ACTRA in Quebec. “It looks like we’ll have a busy summer with the Americans. All in all, it’s sure nice to get these obstacles out of the way, and hopefully, it’ll be soon enough to save the summer.”

Hollywood pics that look set to shoot in Montreal now that the two labor conflicts are resolved include Paramount pic “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” Universal’s “The Mummy 3” and “Death Race 3000.”

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