City backs FTAC on subsidy probe

The Santa Monica City Council has voted unanimously to endorse the FiIm & Television Action Committee's pursuit of an investigation into the Canadian subsidies offered to American film and television producers.

The FTAC coalition -- which includes the Screen Actors Guild, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and five Teamster locals, Studio Utility Employees Local 724, IBEW Local 40, Plasterers Local 755, and IATSE Local 484 -- filed a petition in December with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission that initiated a preliminary investigation into the subsidies.

The coalition has proposed implementing countervailing tariffs on productions that receive the subsidies as they re-enter the U.S. market should those subsidies be found illegal. The vote by the Santa Monica council is a first for FTAC and puts the city on record endorsing FTAC's campaign. Up next for FTAC will be the city councils of Burbank, West Hollywood, and Santa Clarita.

"The unanimous vote by the council proves our campaign has broad popular appeal," FTAC chairman Brent Swift said.

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, the Directors Guild of America, the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists, the MPAA and AFMA oppose the tariff drive. This week, representatives from IATSE, AFMA, and the MPAA sent opposition faxes to the Santa Monica council.