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“Bring Hollywood Home!” Studio labour, internationalism, and runaway production, 1998-2005

“Bring Hollywood Home!” Studio labour, internationalism, and runaway production, 1998-2005

Dawson, Andrew (2006) “Bring Hollywood Home!” Studio labour, internationalism, and runaway production, 1998-2005. In: European Social Science History Conference, 22-25 March 2006, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. (Unpublished)

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Since the late 1990s, Hollywood has experienced an exodus of film production to other parts of the United States and Canada. In response, studio employees have turned to a variety of strategies including campaigning for state and federal subsidies to encourage shooting in the US, demanding that the World Trade Organisation introduce punitive countervailing tariffs on Canadian produced films, and to forming closer ties with Canadian (and European) unions. This paper critically examines labour’s response within the broader framework of film production’s global dispersal.

At the heart of Hollywood’s anti-runaway movement is a complex and contradictory interweaving of a rank-and-file radicalism (which rejected ‘corporate welfare’), working-class chauvinism, and international official union acceptance of many of the premises of free trade and globalisation. The search for US-Canadian cross-border solutions emerged out of pragmatic rather than principled internationalism: the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) has members in Canada and the US, while the US Screen Actors Guild (SAG) has close ties with its Canadian counterpart, the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA). In 2002 ACTRA supported SAG’s Global Rule One campaign despite implications for its own jurisdiction.

The conflict between the major studios and labour has not been resolved but key elements in the process can already be discerned.

The sources for this study are: the trade press, especially Hollywood Reporter and Variety; Hollywood local union and US and Canadian national union publications; interviews with Los Angeles studio workers; and federal government and California state publications.

Item Type: Conference or Conference Paper (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: United states, Motion picture industry, Runaway production, Film and television action committee
Pre-2014 Departments: School of Humanities & Social Sciences
School of Humanities & Social Sciences > Department of Communications & Creative Arts
School of Humanities & Social Sciences > History Research Group
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Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:12

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