Creative Community Backs Independent Producers in Talks with Television Networks

    Performers, Directors and Screenwriters Express Support for Terms of

    TORONTO, July 23 /CNW Telbec/ - The unions and guilds that represent
Canada's professional performers, directors and screenwriters expressed their
strong support for the efforts of the Canadian Film and Television Production
Association (CFTPA), one of the country's two principal independent producer
groups, in its negotiations with the major private broadcast networks, as well
as CBC, to secure equitable agreements for program rights.
    "We support the independent producers' position that equitable terms of
trade agreements are needed to secure fairer deals for program rights," said
Stephen Waddell, National Executive Director of ACTRA. "Reaching fair terms
for granting rights is a struggle with which we are familiar. We see the
obvious value here for performers, so ACTRA is supportive of the independent
producers' efforts."
    Today the CFTPA is slated to sit down with CTV, Canwest Global and Rogers
to begin negotiating "terms of trade" - framework agreements that would define
and value program rights. These framework agreements would apply to individual
negotiations between broadcasters and producers for these rights - a
requirement that is essential to help mitigate the severe imbalances in
negotiating power caused by broadcaster consolidation.
    "Broadcasters are the gatekeepers of Canadian television programming,"
said Maureen Parker, Executive Director of the Writers Guild of Canada. "This
in itself gives them powerful leverage when dealing with producers, and the
imbalance of negotiating power has only been exacerbated by the broadcaster
mergers of recent years. If producers are pressured into granting broadcasters
program rights for little or nothing, screenwriters and the creative community
are impoverished as a result."
    The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)
has mandated that all broadcasters submit draft or signed terms of trade
agreements with independent producers as part of their broadcast licence
renewal applications, with the deadline expected to be in late 2008 or early
    "We're very glad that the CRTC has affirmed the importance and urgency of
terms of trade," said Brian Anthony, National Executive Director of the
Directors Guild of Canada. "We regard terms of trade as an essential component
of a broader regulatory strategy aimed at ensuring a vibrant Canadian
production sector that continues to have the creative and financial capacity
to produce great Canadian programming."

    About ACTRA

    ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) is a
national organization of professional performers working in the
English-language recorded media in Canada. ACTRA represents the interests of
21,000 members across Canada - the foundation of Canada's highly acclaimed
professional performing community.

    About the Directors Guild of Canada

    The Directors Guild of Canada (DGC) is a national labour organization
that represents over 3,800 key creative and logistical personnel in the film
and television industry covering all areas of direction, design, production
and editing. The DGC negotiates and administers collective agreements and
lobbies extensively on issues of concern for members including Canadian
content conditions, CRTC regulations and ensuring that funding is maintained
for Canadian film and television programming.

    About the Writers Guild of Canada

    The Writers Guild of Canada (WGC) represents almost 1,900 professional
English-language screenwriters across Canada. These are the talented people
who create the distinctly Canadian entertainment we enjoy on our televisions,
movie screens, radios and computers.

For further information:

For further information: ACTRA: Carol Taverner, Public Relations
Officer, (416) 489-1311, ext, 4045,; Directors Guild of
Canada: Lisa Mahal, National Communications Manager, (416) 482-6640, x 251,; Writers Guild of Canada: David Kinahan, Director of
Communications, (416) 979-7907, ext. 5234,

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