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May 14, 2020 SAG AFTRA newsletter
The Philadelphia Local compromises not only the City of Philadelphia, but most of Southeast Pennsylvania as well as the state of Delaware and New Jersey north until around Trenton. With the success of our lobbying for a Pennsylvania film tax credit, the next step was New Jersey. Last year, we had a major success in finally reinstating our film tax credit, and this year it’s all about promotion. South Jersey had been missing out when it comes to the film industry. But one SAG-AFTRA Philadelphia Local member is working to make this often-visited tourist destination a hub for a film industry just waiting to come into full bloom within the Garden State.:
Stories abound about life on the sea, sea towns and ocean voyages. And where would be a better place for a film production to set up than in South Jersey?
South Jersey is surrounded by water from the Atlantic Ocean to the Delaware River, and splattered with estuaries, rivers and swamps. Inside the cedar water forests, the black-red fluid runs in contrast to the bright orange and yellow paint-splashed leaves of maple in autumn.
But there is also the luxury of civilization: bright lights of casinos; beams of lighthouses; historic, suburban and city buildings; and signs of rural living of blueberry farms, horse ranches and small family-owned stores. We also can’t forget Atlantic City, Cape May diamonds on Sunset Beach, Jersey beaches and areas of time gone by like Batsto Village.
Thanks to Gov. Murphy, who promised me this in writing, New Jersey has had tax credits for big productions of television, film and digital media since 2018. Since then, there have been a few films shot in the area — The Irishman, Joker, Army of the Dead and Bruised — as well as TV series such as Emergence and 48 Hours. The number of our union actors have increased, a positive sign, as the tax program has now been extended until 2028 and given more provisions for filmmakers and others such as carpenters, electricians and more.
The increased film production could lead to profit increases for small local businesses and parts of the city and state’s infrastructure, as well as create new work opportunities in areas like Cape May County, which has the highest unemployment rate in New Jersey.
I founded the South Jersey Filmmakers and Producers Community three years ago for the networking and education of filmmakers, producers, actors and crew. SAG-AFTRA is always invited, as is the New Jersey Motion Picture and TV commissioner. At times, casting agencies, talent agents and local film offices participate.
One such networking opportunity occurred on Feb. 12 at the Showboat Atlantic City Hotel. The goal was to gather industry partners to give information about the area and how each group can help to advocate for film production in South Jersey. I gave information on the history of film from the late 1800s through the 1920s, and the groundbreaking contributions of early film pioneers.
Our local SAG-AFTRA business representative, Ramon Jackson, gave information about the various low budget contracts and other benefits the union offers to producers seeking to sign our agreements with limited budgets.
Atlantic City Film Commissioner Heather Colache discussed active film productions in Atlantic City like Bruised and Army of the Dead. She then introduced Stefanie Ryan, president of Weist-Barron-Ryan, a studio space that offers acting and casting workshops and is a member of the Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce. SAG-AFTRA member and actor Rick Kulesa followed and spoke of the history of many prominent New Jersey actors. Connor Price, an associate of Tower Investments, which owns Showboat Atlantic City, spoke of the benefits of using the space as a film location and gave a tour of the entire casino.
Meetings like this will continue to help plant seeds of growth for film production and jobs for union actors in South Jersey. Generally, all communications of meetings and events are announced on Facebook. For those who are interested, just drop a “like.”
See you at the movies!
By SAG-AFTRA Philadelphia Local Board Secretary Pat Chambers Kazanjian for the Philadelphia Local’s spring 2020 newsletter.
Photo: From left, Philadelphia Local Member Peter de Feo, Local Board members Nicole Izanec and Voleida Webb, Local Vice President Meagan Hill and Philadelphia Business Representative Ramon Jackson.
All photos courtesy of Pat Chambers Kazanjian.
PF Chang's in the Quarter. Large attendance of producers, filmmakers, actors (union and non-union... four waivered signing onto the union), casting, animator, events promoter, broadcast, crew school info, and Steven Gorelick spoke of the current films and what's next.
I had asked, for national SAG- AFTRA consideration, for ultra-low and low budgeting in animation production... to co-inside with film production. It would introduce, inspire and help animation production to use union voice actors.
Cheri Oteri, too
Wednesday, February 27th, 12:30 (Afternoon), at the Irish Pub in Atlantic City.. (Group photos by Phillip Barnett, Cute glass lights photo by moi) Chris, the artist, showed up as we were leaving, not in shot...awwww.
Ursula Ryan, owner and President of Weist Barron Ryan, passed away shortly after the discovery of a rare cancer in her liver and lungs. She will be sorely missed.
I had taught at WBR for 8-9 years and we were close. Often, she and I, sometimes with Lucy King, and others would go out to eat after classes at the Irish Pub, or Angelos, or one of the Casinos and have a lovely time.
Panel (L to R): Matt Servitto, Steven Gorelick, Assemblyman Greenwald, Justin Kenyon, Stephen Leshinski (Who gave me credit for work towards the bill). It was a full house in a surprise Snow Storm.
In Attendance: Pat Chambers Kazanjian (SAG AFTRA Local Secretary/ South Jersey Filmmakers & Producers Community), Dick Sheeran (SAG AFTRA Local Board), Steven Gorelick (NJ Motion Picture Commission), Heather Colache (AC Film Commission), Stefanie Ryan Showell (Weist Barron Ryan), Patrick M Walsh, Jr., Michael Viola (SAG AFTRA), Ursula Ryan (SAG AFTRA and Weist Barron Ryan), Ken SC (SAG AFTRA), Tarrah Lynn (SAG AFTRA), Robert Eric (SAG AFTRA), Fabulous Gabriel (Slaca Entertainment Group), Elijah Tyre (SAG AFTRA), John Mitchell (SAG AFTRA Philly Board), Jim Craine Schilling (SAG AFTRA), Lucy King (SAG AFTRA Talent Agent), Keith Vaile (KHV Films), Phillip T Barnett, Jr. (PTB Productions), Stephen Leshinsky (SAG AFTRA Local Exec. Director), John McGowan, Matt Gorsky. and, of course, Cathy Burke (SAG AFTRA and owner of the Irish Pub).
9/20/18 In my call to the NJ Film Commission, I was told that what is happening right now in this film commission is at 180 degrees away from the past 8 years. They are busy with meetings and a positive movement forward.
NJ Gov. Signs $425M Tax Credit Bill For Film, Digital Media
By Bill Wichert
Law360 (July 3, 2018, 6:44 PM EDT) -- New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday signed legislation authorizing a $425 million film and digital media tax credit program after state legislators adopted his recommended changes to extend the tax breaks to reality television shows, and to permit an additional tax incentive to encourage the hiring of women and minorities. (Law360.com)
Anti-Bias Seminar Organized by Philadelphia Jewish Labor Committee, ADL of Philadelphia, and PSU School of Labor and Employment Relations went well (6/18/18). Pat Chambers attended as did the entire SAG-AFTRA local office. Thinking about bringing this event to SAG-AFTRA. This seminar may lead to a bus trip to the Holocaust Museum for seminar participants.
More photos to come. Below: Me, Exec. Vice President Jennifer Ramon, the room photos (80 members attended), WMMR Pierre Robert (Given the 50 years of WMMR award) Sam Clover also on stage, Exec. Officer of SAG-AFTRA Philly Local Stephen Leshinsky.
4/16/18. Still waiting for news.
Here we are, SAG-AFTRA Local Philly
These guys, DiMaio and Bucco spoke against tax credits for Media
In Assembly. Voted to table
Trying to clear the way and Hoping for good when the Tax Credits for Film is cleared for take off in NJ, esp. South Jersey. But you would think Cape May County, with the highest Unemployment rate of the entire state would be more embracing of the idea.
I called around to see how easy it would be for production to get a simple permit to produce. This too needs help. But the Locomotive is still running.
Thank you, Cathy Burke!!!!!
Talking about tax credit for Big Production(Film/TV/All Media): L to R; Pat Chambers Kazanjian, St. Senator Jeff Van Drew, and Ed McKeever
*****Added note, It was my idea to push for the tax credit in NJ, and North NJ wants the lion's share....... typical for North Jersey.
Filmmakers/ Producers; Ed McKeever, Jason Koerner, Keith Vaile, Phillip Titus Barnett, Jr.
Animator/ Producer; Beth Kazanjian.
Commercials/Producer; Tariq Mobley.
Gracious Owner of the Irish Pub who treated us all very well; Cathy Burke.
SAG-AFTRA: Stephen Leshinsky, Pat Chambers Kazanjian.
NJ Film Commission; Steven Gorelick.
Weist Barron Ryan Casting; Stefanie Ryan and Quinn Showell.
L to R.-- Lucy King (Talent Agent, Models on the Move), Steven Gorelick (NJ Motion Picture& TV Commission, Executive Director), Stephen Leshinski (SAG-AFTRA Phila. Local Executive Director), Pat Chambers (SAG-AFTRA Phila. Local Board Secretary), Heather Colache (Atlantic City Film Commission, Sales Mngr.), Ursula Ryan (Weist Barron Ryan Casting, President), Quinn Showell (Weist Barron Ryan Casting, Chief Op Officer), Stefani Showell (Weist Barron Ryan, VP and Casting Dir.)
11/4/17 SAG-AFTRA RETREAT
Photo by Chris Kazanjian:
The following photos by Chris Kazanjian:
The Following Photo From Rick Kulesa:
During meetings, I was voted Secretary.
Along with many others situations like healthcare and equal pay. He is one of the good ones.