Island film productions could be on pause while Hollywood actors strike

Island film productions could be on pause while Hollywood actors strike

The film and TV industry across Vancouver Island and the Greater Victoria area is taking another hit as Hollywood puts a pause on big productions.

SAG-AFTRA, the union representing 160,000 actors in the U.S., has gone on strike fighting for better compensation.

The actors union is joining already striking Writers Guild of America members, who walked off the job in May.


The Vancouver Island South Film and Media Commission said while this has a huge impact on Hollywood, the strike could shut down many Canadian productions as well.

“This is our bread and butter here in the Greater Victoria region, is Hollywood,” film commissioner Kathleen Gilbert said. “The L.A. shows that come up here and shoot the streaming services.”

According to Gilbert, the CRD region brings in anywhere from $60 million to $120 million in direct spending in the film and TV industry per year, with most of that coming from the U.S.

She added summer is typically a pretty busy time of year, but currently there aren’t any big productions filming in the area.

“We recognize this is going to be a difficult summer for our local crew,” Gilbert said. “We’re so lucky that we had Reginald the Vampire here for six months, but they are finished. So we have a lot of local crew on our streets looking for work.”

Barbara Coultish, with the Victoria-based Barbara Coultish Talent & Model Management, said she has already noticed the impact.

Coultish explained that she normally spends almost two hours going through different emails and websites sifting through job posts for her clients.

“[Friday] morning there was one, just one, and that’s a Canadian content one,” she said.

The agency represents about 200 actors who are all now anxiously waiting for a call to set.

Coultish said luckily there are some local independent projects that are keeping some actors and crews busy, but that won’t be enough.

“They can’t cover it all,” Coultish added. “We still rely on the Hallmarks, the Disney’s, the Netflix and all those other wonderful series that come in.”

Actors and production crews aren’t the only ones affected by the strike, local businesses are also feeling the pinch of reduced work.

Hungry Bubba Food Truck is disappointed they won’t be filling as many catering opportunities because of the strike.

The food truck typically travels to community events across the Island, but it recently started catering services for film sets.

In early June, the truck was serving crews on a film set in Duncan for 15 days, serving about 80 meals a day to lighting, props and wardrobe crews, as well as actors like Alec Baldwin.

“I was excited because it felt like it was a new door opening for the business to help with growth,” Adrienne Peter, Hungry Bubba Food Truck owner, said.

While Peter said the strike won’t be a make-it or break-it for the food truck, it is still a disappointment.

She added the truck will be set up at a smaller independent film set later this summer.

“It’s something I really want to be a part of for sure,” Peter said.

Gilbert told CHEK News the Island and Canadian film industry will need to wait and see what happens with the strike as big productions won’t continue until an agreement is made.


Mackenzie ReadMackenzie Read

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