Congresswomen Diane Watson
demonstrates support for anti runaway proposals
Congresswoman Diane Watson supports American film and television workers by writing to the Producers of "Cinderella Man" and sending copies to every member of Congress. Here is what she wrote:
March 19, 2004
Ron Meyer President and COO Universal Studios
100 Universal City Plaza Universal City, CA 91608
Dear Mr. Meyer:
We applaud your effort to tell the triumphant story of James J. Braddock in "Cinderella Man," one of our nation's greatest boxing heroes. However, we are deeply concerned by the outsourcing of its filming to Canada, further exacerbating the crisis of "runaway production" in the entertainment industry. For our economy and the hundreds of U.S. jobs affected by the production of "Cinderella Man," we strongly urge you to reconsider.
As you are aware, the phenomenon of film and television productions developed and based in the United States but filmed in another country for economic reasons has cost the U.S. economy tens of thousands of jobs and billions in revenue. Studios choosing to film the Civil War-based "Cold Mountain" in Romania and last year's Oscar winner "Chicago" in Toronto are stark examples of placing profits over American jobs. Despite the U.S.- based themes of these movies, many U.S. workers were denied opportunities to participate due to their filming locations.
Your film traces the fairytale rise of James J. Braddock from a poor local fighter to the heavyweight boxing champion of the world. His story is intrinsically American. The talents and hard work of the U.S. creative workforce should not be overlooked in the creation of such an All-American tale.
We are aware that subsidies provided by foreign countries to film makers have put the United States at a serious disadvantage. Indeed Congress and many state and local governments are currently working hard to curb the epidemic of runaway production through various wage credit and tax incentive proposals. While we continue to seek out legislative solutions to the issue, we hope you will take into account the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs to foreign labor forces by refusing to participate in the further outsourcing of U.S. jobs. Your decision will not only impact families whose heads of households are struggling to find and keep work, but also send a strong message that U.S. jobs in the entertainment sector are not for export.
Director Robert Altman recently refused to shoot any more American films in Canada based solely on economic reasons. Clint Eastwood also insisted on shooting "Mystic River' in Boston. We note and commend Mr. Ron Howard, the director for "Cinderella Man," for making his last sixteen films in the United States. We hope you will seriously
reconsider filming "Cinderella Man" in Canada, and ensure future decisions on film location will take into account their impact on U.S. economy and jobs.
(Diane E. Watson)
CC: Harvey Weinstein, Miramax Films
Jim Brubaker, Universal Studios
Nina Jacobson, Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group