Sunday, March 16, 2008

Woman gets "forgotten" in holding cell for four days

Four days, no food, no water. Left alone because a bailiff "just flat forgot about her".

Why was she being held?

Because she got swept up in a raid at a flea market in Arkansas in connection with the sale of pirated CD's & DVD's.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Bill C-10

Y' go away for a few months of vacation, but once you touch down, you realize that's it's as if you never left...

Even though my recent trip to Thailand was a wonderful reprieve from the "day-to-day", I will admit to checking my favorite industry-related blogs while my wife wasn't watching. So, suffice it to say, I wasn't completely shocked when I got home to find that the Canadian government is getting closer and closer everyday to finishing the infrastructure for a complete "hostile takeover" of our airwaves by those with access to private equity.

Given the perfect storm conditions that began over a year ago with the ACTRA strike and the constant bickering over the Canadian Television Fund, it's easier to get analysis from all areas of the media spectrum now that there have been so many places that the "twister" has touched down (i.e. - WGA strike, DGA ratification, upcoming SAG negotiations, Bill C-10, Canada Copyright Act).

As an ACTRA member and a SOCAN member, I'm quite interested in the developments of new media issues and regulations. This is because it helps me understand how the business infrastructure of my country (and continent) is planning to fund and distribute the media which I create personally.

However, I can't help but feel like a bit of a black sheep when it comes to an issue such as Bill C-10, which has Canadian film artists and their unions in a lather. To be clear, I'm opposed to Bill C-10 for the simple reason that it's unnecessary if you look at it from the perspective in which it's being "sold" to us. Supposedly, it's to prevent public funds from being used to create films that are contrary to public policy, or contains explicit sex or is excessively violent.

Yes, well...I would have to agree that it isn't the job of a government, on behalf of its citizens, to produce soft (or hardcore) porn or Quentin Tarantino-type flicks...but the reason that I'm opposed to the government on this one is: we haven't been producing these kinds of films through Telefilm!

Now, there is one other reason that I'm opposed to Bill C-10, and that's because I don't believe that Stephen Harper would allow his cabinet to be wasting their time on a budget item such as this if it didn't hold a significant place within his own policy objectives. I can't say conclusively what "that" may be exactly, but let me submit to you that a budget item such as this, coupled with the stacking of the CRTC, the constant draining of funds from the CTF and a general antagonistic approach from the Canadian government towards artists (yes...Liberals too! Sheila Copps was the architect of Bill C-10 after all...) belies an attitude of free market principles without giving Canadian artists access to free market tools (i.e. - money).

However, I can't join "in solidarity" with my unions or fellow artists in railing against the passage of this bill. It isn't so much that I'm opposed to ACTRA or the WGC or film creators fighting for access to more funding and opportunity to create more work - it has more to do with wanting to search for a solution *other* than bashing our collective heads against the bureaucratic brick wall that is the Canadian Heritage ministry.

I've said it before and I'll keep saying it until there seems to be a better option: if heading towards an integrated market, a free trade market, a free and open market - could we please start implementing tools for Canadian artists to actually compete with our competitors? How can a mixture of 10-30% tax credits help us compete with private equity from down south? They (Americans) come up here to exploit tax credits...not depend on them.

Andrew Coyne has a particularly good article on the subject in this week's issue of Maclean's. Considering the fact that his sister (Susan Coyne) is a well-respected and highly accomplished film actor/writer, I can't imagine that he's just spouting off because he's the editor.

Trust me, I'm *all* for having a vibrant and healthy film and television industry in this country. We certainly have the talent to provide it. I'm just not convinced that those at "the top" have fully come to grips with the realities of new media.

It seems to me that government, broadcasters and unions are only starting to catch on to what the music industry started to face over a decade ago. And don't let any of them fool you (if you're an artist that is...), their first priority is not to save the artist; it's to save their own job first.

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